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Only the Bad Die Young - Heathers the Musical

(L-R) Elise Zavou, Verity Thompson and Billie Bowman - Heathers UK Tour 2023 - Photo Credit Pamela Raith Photography.jpg

Heathers The Musical at the Belgrade Theatre, 19 - 23 September 2023.

Review by Heidi Barber.

Heathers, the cult classic 1989 film featuring Winona Ryder and Christian Bale, may have been released over three decades ago but the underlying themes of teen suicide, bullying and eating disorders are as relevant today as they were at that time. Admittedly, film writer Daniel Waters probably never imagined the story being turned into a musical for the stage, but this dark, humorous tale of teenage angst translates perfectly in Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe’s adaptation.

Alex Woodward and Morgan Jackson - Heathers UK Tour 2023 - Photo Credit Pamela Raith Photography.

The plot revolves around a clique of four teenage girls, three of whom are all called Heather. Meanwhile, Veronica (Jenna Innes), the only non-Heather in their clique at Westerberg, an Ohio high school, becomes drawn towards troubled teen misfit JD (Tom Dickerson as cover for Jacob Fowler). Unbeknown to Veronica, JD has formulated a plan to murder the most popular students at Westerberg and stage their deaths as suicides.

Heather Chandler (Verity Thompson) shines as ‘the demon queen of high school’ and is the first student to meet her demise, swiftly followed by football buddies Kurt and Ram whose well timed exchanges certainly bring a comedic element to the show.

Cast of Heathers - UK Tour 2023 - Photo credit Pamela Raith Photography.

The second half of the show opens with the funeral of football players Kurt and Ram and the upbeat song ‘My dead gay son’ delivered memorably by their supposedly grieving fathers.

Although this production deals with difficult themes, it does so in a humorous and entertaining manner with the outstanding cast switching from sensitivity and raw emotion when required, to ludicrously dark comedy in a heartbeat.

Cast of Heathers - UK Tour 2023 - Photo Credit Pamela Raith Photography.

Jenna Innes as Veronica delivers a powerful vocal performance with her voice blending perfectly with Tom Dickerson’s in their joint set pieces. Indeed, the whole ensemble displays phenomenal vocals throughout.

The surprisingly young audience cheered loudly at the initial appearance of the traffic light tartan clad Heathers and this production has thankfully encompassed everything that made the movie so iconic.


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