Heathers (the film) is one of the cult classics from the 80s. It told the story of an unknown girl at high school who wanted to become popular, and inadvertently became embroiled in a murder or three. Heathers The Musical is a modern, updated version, and my WORD is it good!
Heathers The Musical is set in Westerberg High School in the US and tells the story of a geeky girl called Veronica who, just like the majority of the other students, is trying to get through school relatively unscathed. Most of the students are equally looked down on by a set of three girls, all called Heather, who dominate their fellow students with callous and mean comments, and who each have inflated self importance and obnoxious attitudes. They only engage with people who can be of benefit to them, snubbing or berating anyone who dares so much as talk to them.
After recess The Heathers are caught out of class without a hall pass by a teacher, but before they can be penalised geeky Veronica steps in and presents a hastily forged hall pass which includes their names. The Heathers recognise Veronica’s ability to forge writing as being something they could use in future and allow her to join their clique. Veronica doesn’t necessarily like the Heathers but she instantly gains popularity, or rather she is no longer subject to quite as much ridicule from them, and she starts to enjoy school life more.
A new student by the name of J.D. joins Westerberg and Veronica instantly becomes besotted with him. J.D. helps Veronica to “address” the issues in her life, (and by “address” I mean “kill”,) and the play is about how the school comes to terms with the death of a Heather. And then the deaths of some more students. And then… (in fact, no, go and see it! It is awesome!)
Highlights for us were right at the start of Act 2, during the funeral, one of the Dads makes a speech about how proud he is of his son, and the audience erupted in supportive cheers. It was absolutely deafening and genuinely heart warming. It’s one of those things you only get at the theatre – you just don’t get that kind of emotion from the audience at the cinema.
At one point the teacher broke the fourth wall and had a brief conversation with an audience member. She asked him to stand up and a guy with a shaved head got out of his seat. She then proceeded to “break up” with him, stating “You have a lovely head of hair… It’s a shame you didn’t wear it tonight.” Again, the audience interaction was brilliant.
Also, there was a fight scene in slow motion which was absolutely fantastic. It was perfectly synchronised, with all cast members working at exactly the same speed. There was jeering, there were punches being thrown, it was a genuine fight but in slow motion. The amount of hours they must have rehearsed for, to get that level of synchronicity… Superb.
The musical numbers are fantastic with such catchy tunes, and everything is performed live by a band. Both sound and lighting were excellent, lighting especially, with spotlights used to accent the clothing colours of the Heathers and a single white spot used to highlight solos.
EVERYTHING about going to the theatre is ace – you’re not watching a recording on a screen, you’re watching live actors, you’re listening to a live band play music, the lighting is done live, the gasps and cheers from the audience, EVERYTHING about it makes it such a bigger event than going to the cinema. The Palace in Manchester is an excellent venue.
Heathers is at The Palace Theatre Manchester until Saturday 9th October, and tickets start from just £13. Just let that sink in… £13.00 to watch a live show in a theatre. Bonkers!
Get tickets for Heathers The Musical here – https://www.heathersthemusical.com/uk-tour