Greetings and Salutations!
The students of Westerburg High have taken to the stage at the Wales Millennium Centre and they’re kicking up quite the storm. This musical based on the 80s cult classic follows the story of Veronica Sawyer who is just trying to get through high school alive, which turns out to be harder than she thought. She is pulled to the height of popularity by the untouchably beautiful yet cruel Heathers and is drawn to the mysterious new kid Jason ‘JD’ Dean. But as her teen angst starts to rack up a body count, Veronica’s dream of popularity quickly turns sour.
I was very excited to be invited to come and review this show, being one of my favourites, but I did go in with quite high expectations. Heathers the Musical has a raft of powerful songs and is rich with dark comedy, and I think that’s what makes it so popular with such a varied audience. From theatre lovers, angsty teens and adults who watched the film growing up, this show can be enjoyed by everyone.
The role of Veronica Sawyer is a highly demanding one. Not just with the big expectations this role carries but Veronica has a lot of intense, highly energetic numbers such as ‘Beautiful’, ‘I Say No’, ‘Seventeen’ and so many more. And I have to say, Jenna Innes did a phenomenal job at picking up that blue mallet and taking on the role. Her energy and talent won the hearts of the audience. She captured what makes the character so loveable while also making the role her own. An incredible talent. And her “cool guy” partner in crime, JD portrayed by Jacob Fowler complimented Jenna’s performances perfectly. Their dynamic on stage was toxically infectious, with numbers ‘Freeze Your Brain’, ‘Our Love Is God’ and ‘Meant To Be Yours’, giving us shivers. JD is another role that is hard to take on, but Jacob Fowler never missed a beat and captured the comedic insanity that lies beneath such a damaged character.
And, of course, it wouldn’t be Heathers the Musical without the iconic trio- Heather Chandler portrayed by Verity Thompson, Heather McNamara portrayed by Billie Bowman and Heather Duke portrayed by Elise Zavou. From the moment they stepped on the stage, they owned it. And in songs such as ‘Candy Store’ they showed off their astounding talent.
A special mention has to go to Alex Woodward as Kurt Kelly and Morgan Jackson as Ram Sweeney. Who although played teens with a somewhat lack of moral character, still were an audience favourite and their hilarious dynamic and comedic timings had the audience in stitches.
Everyone, including the rest of the cast Katie Paine (as Ms. Fleming/Veronica’s mum), Kingsley Morton (as Martha Dunnstock), Jay Bryce, Conor McFarlane, Tom Dickerson, Eleanor Walsh, Liam Dean, Eliza Bowden, Markus Sodergren, Maeve Byrne, Summer Priest and Lizzie Emery, all deserved their standing ovation.
Visually this show is spectacular, especially their use of lighting to create special effects and I always particularly love the coloured spotlights for the Heathers. It’s simple but creates a powerful effect for the audience. Lighting Designer Ben Cracknell and Sound Designer Dan Samson added their theatre magic to transform the stage into Westerburg High.
Through it’s dark comedically-twisted take on life in an America high school, it’s still holds a reflection to life as a teenager. Couple that with incredible songs, big ensemble numbers and a talented cast, Heathers the Musical is a must-see! This show is ‘Big Fun’ and is only at the Wales Millennium Centre until the 26th August until they continue on their UK tour. And ticket are selling out fast, so head over to website to get yours now!