WORTH A LOOK?: ****
WHERE: Other Palace
WHEN: 15/6, runs to 4/8/18
RUN TIME: 2 hours and 30 minutes (with a 20-minute interval)
UPDATE: Heathers transfers to the Theatre Royal Haymarket 3/9 to 24/11. Tickets
We’ve not experienced this level of pre-show excitement in a theatre since we saw Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theatre, a stone’s throw from this venue.
- Read on for reasons including how the buzz for this show is electric
We’re not sure what we were expecting but it certainly wasn’t a DJ playing Yazoo’s Don’t Go in the bar or songs like 99 Red Balloons and Take On Me appearing pre-show and in the interval in the theatre to enhance the 80s atmosphere.
Certainly also not for us to feel like some of the oldest people in the venue (we were in our late teens when this 1988 classic film was originally released). Or for this predominantly teenage audience to be quite so hyped and loving intermission songs including Toni Basil’s Mickey.
For those unfamiliar with the original, darkly comic source material it was way ahead of its time and its themes of school bullying and pupils with guns are arguably more to the forefront of minds now than they were when the film starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater was released.
It’s the story of Veronica Sawyer (here played by Hope Fletcher who we’d not seen before but has real star quality), is set at the US school she attends in the 80s, where she infiltrates the titular Heathers clique and falls in love with bad boy JD.
Veronica and JD are bullied, take out their revenge on their tormentors and then make their deaths appear as suicides.
If we had a criticism it would be that the score is a little like Legally Blonde but less good. Much of the best dialogue from the film remains including the very quotable ‘Fuck me gently with a chainsaw’ which is emblazoned on the T-shirt of an audience member at this sold out show.
The top-of-the-class cast is the real reason for us to see this fine show. Rebecca Lock makes the most of the hilarious hippy lovefest that is Shine A Light and Edward Baruwa sets the place alight during the rip-roaring My Dead Gay Son. Jenny O’Leary also really pulls at the heartstrings during Kindergarten Boyfriend. We’ve written about T’Shan Williams before and she’s definitely one to watch out for.
Show closer 17 is a real anthem about making the most of your youth and Hope Fletcher shines during the aggressive and modern take on Dead Man Walking.
The Other Palace is a great venue for a show like this and its studio design means you can’t help but feel you’re onstage with the cast at every moment.
For us then this musical retains the anarchic spirit of the original film, the cast is, to use the show’s own language, so very, but it’s the audience buzz that you won’t fail to get caught up in.