Heathers the Musical arrives in Milton Keynes Theatre this week. Here is a dear diary moment if there ever was one. This classic 90’s film is now a fabulous stage show produced by Bill Kenwright and Paul Taylor-Mills. It’s a black comedy, and a musical, and its rather dark, and its cool. Yes, very cool. Well, if you want to be a somebody you had better get on board.
Set in high school, Westerberg High, geeky Veronica dreams of being popular. No, scratch that. She dreams of not being bullied every day. She can’t wait for college. The most popular girls in high school are the stunning Heathers. A chance situation finds herself helping them out so they ‘adpot’ her and make her a ‘Heather’. However, Veronica soon realises that the Heathers are cruel and this is a juxtaposition of who she is. When Veronica falls for a new boy in school, he shows her how to get revenge on anyone who upsets her. Heathers is like a twisted Grease, high school at its darkest. I empathise with Veronica as I too, was a geek who dreamed of being popular. And I was best friends with the most popular girl in school. This works. Veronica knows this too.
Veronica is played by Rebecca Wickes. Rebecca is perfect in the role. She is sweet and innocent and has the most powerfully gorgeous voice. Rebecca’s portrayal of Veronica reminds me in some strange way of a warped Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray. They both hope for a better day. Veronica’s boyfriend, JD, is played by Simon Gordon who in his long trench coat feels mysterious and exciting. You can see why Veronica falls for him. But if you thought the Heathers were cruel, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Simon plays JD, a teen who falls for Veronica in such a way that its all or nothing. He is damaged and doesn’t care who lives or dies as long as he has her love. It’s hard being seventeen.
The Heathers are Maddison Firth (Heather Chandler), Merryl Ansah (Heather Duke), Lizzy Parker (Heather McNamara) who are all beautiful, can sing and draw your eye to them, each time they are on the stage. Maddison who plays the lead Heather is absolutely fantastic, she can do bitch and friend. It’s a weird mix.
Its hard not to name every cast member as this cast is exceptional. The show is exciting and well-paced. The songs are funny and where else can you hear people sing ‘Oh Shit’ on stage? Not only do I recommend it but this is fast becoming one of my favourite shows. In its first UK tour of Heathers the Musical, I can say this is an outstanding piece of work. But don’t take my word for it. After all, I secretly want the drama teacher’s outfits (sorry, but I do) so I am probably not the right demographic. However, my 24-year-old son was on his feet giving a standing ovation before most of the rest of the audience got up. He is a harsh critic so if he loves this, you know its hit the right spot.
Heathers the Musical is at Milton Keynes Theatre until 20 November.