Honey, what you waiting for? Heathers The Musical at The Regent Theatre

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April 11, 2023

Dear Diary, 

Heathers The Musical opened at The Regent Theatre tonight. I believe it’s one of the best modern musicals I’ve seen. Definition of BIG FUN.

Heathers The Musical has been taking social media by storm, and despite never having seen the eponymous 1988 film, I already felt connected to the story and characters thanks to the buzz created around this smash hit production via TikTok.

Following two West End seasons, a record-breaking run at The Other Palace and winning the WhatsOnStage award for Best New Musical, it quickly gained a cult-like following which saw dozens of theatre-goers donning tartan mini skirts, colour coordinating knee-high socks and blazers as it headed to The Regent Theatre.

Chick-flick Mean Girls meets Netflix’s hit series You, Heathers The Musical is a dark comedy that follows ‘nobody Veronica Sawyer desperate to fulfil her dreams of popularity at Westerberg High. She joins the beautiful and impossibly cruel Heathers – the original Lipstick Gestapo – in order to try and survive high school safely.

Pamela Raith

Mysterious teen rebel JD teaches her that it might kill to be a nobody, but it is murder being a somebody, as she accidentally kills the leader of the Teflon trio, fakes her suicide, and so begins a sticky web of chaos. 

Westerberg High symbolises the universal agonies of high school and how, at the time, it feels like your entire world. The characters, except for Veronica, are almost cartoonish – caricatures of stereotypes, from jocks to punks, nerds to… the Heathers. The toxic high school hierarchy dressed to kill, most wanting to be them or be with them.

Heather Chandler, the ‘Queen Bee’, was portrayed by blonde and beautiful Verity Thompson, who does a fantastic job of being the manipulative ‘mythic bitch’. It’s a huge character to play, but Verity belts out her Candy Store riff with apparent ease, and delivers some of the shows best one liners – “well, fuck me gently with a chainsaw!”

Pamela Raith

Each of the Heathers have completely different personalities, with Billie Bowman playing the more cautious and timid Heather McNamara – head cheerleader – while Heather Duke is portrayed by Elise Zavou, who’s Never Shut Up Again scene was fantastic, complete with a flawless costume reveal on stage.

On stage the trio were practically effervescent with energy and with bubbling chemistry, portraying strong, confident teens while executing beautiful harmonies and fun choreography.

Jenna Innes leads the cast as the smart but uncool Veronica Sawyer, who is both witty and fierce as she is determined to get pally with the Heathers in order to make it through senior year. 

She lands some fantastic songs in the script, including Fight For Me, Seventeen and – my personal favourite – Dead Girl Walking, which she absolutely nails.

Pamela Raith

Her dark and mysterious love interest, JD (Jacob Fowler), turns out to be even darker and more mysterious than she may have hoped for, reminding me of YOU’s Joe Goldberg. Perfectly charming and handsome, but deeply troubled and, well… psychotic.

He does a wonderful job of building suspense throughout the show, from Freeze Your Brain all the way through to Meant To Be Yours as the production heads for an explosive climax.

Heathers was not as easy of a watch as I had been anticipating, though, with some incredibly dark themes including reference to suicide, eating disorders, bullying, homophobia, sexual assault and murder. 

The discomfort felt at each of these moments throughout the show is quickly dissipated by quick wit comedy and just how camp and melodramatically it’s portrayed. Director Andy Fickman has managed to strike a balance between the light and shade, which makes for a more palatable experience overall.

Pamela Raith

The rock soundtrack is one that some critics have deemed unmemorable, but I’ve had the chorus to Candy Store stuck in my head ever since. Those who have made such statements clearly haven’t found themselves on TheatreTok. 

My Dead Gay Son was wonderfully choreographed, too, but it was Kingsley Morton’s rendition of Kindergarten Boyfriend as Martha Dunnstock that had me moved almost to tears.

Alex Woodward and Morgan Jackson make for a phenomenal double act as Kurt and Ram. Dimwitted and devoted to their roles as klutzy high school jocks, they generated much of the laughter throughout the production, from their matching pants to half-naked hauntings.

Pamela Raith

At the heart of it, Heathers The Musical is a story of high school hierarchy and adolescents trying to figure out who they are and what they stand for. It’s packed with dark themes and darker humour, but has an infectious energy and comedic value that has you leaving on a Big Fun high. It offers everything you could possibly want from a musical theatre show, with excellently executed one-liners, memorable melodies and over-the-top characters and choreography.

So, honey what you waiting for? You can get your tickets to see Heathers The Musical at The Regent Theatre, where it runs until Saturday, April 15, here.

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Staffordshire, UK

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