This week Milton Keynes Theatre has been transformed into Westerburg High to welcome the 80’s cult classic Heathers. Anyone who remembers the iconic film will know what to expect. For those who don’t, you’re in for a night of comedy and teen angst with a body count.
This is your classic stereotypical all-american high school with jocks, nerds and the cool kids – The Heathers – ruling the roost. It’s not easy to fit in and Veronica Sawyer, the female protagonist, learns this the hard way. Alongside sociopathic boyfriend JD, the two get swept up into a deathly web of lies and deceit. Its a perfectly measured offering of black comedy which ultimately uplifts whilst providing a little food for thought.
Having seen this musical when it first came to London, I was interested to see how it would measure up as a touring production. It certainly didn’t disappoint. The bones of the production are fundamentally the same. David Shields brilliant design sets the scene and gives the production great depth with multiple levels and moving pieces. The sound is fantastically immersive and when combined with outstanding lighting by Ben Cracknell the more sinister moments really do hit the audience with a bang – pun intended. Andy Fickman’s direction combined with choreography by Gary Lloyd are close to perfection and they stage and pace the piece so effectively that the audience are hooked from the get go.
The only real difference between the show in London and on tour is its new cast and this cast definitely do give the characters their own unique spin. It is a real treat to see how the show hits differently as each actor interprets the role in their own individual way. Rebecca Wickes as Veronica and Maddison Firth as Heather Chandler both give their leading ladies a dorky side which is a fun twist on their predecessors whilst Simon Gordon gives a very subtle but chilling performance as J.D. All three wow the audience with brilliant vocals and have an impressive command of the stage. As for the rest of the cast, they’re absolutely brilliant. Their comic timing is exceptional, their vocals are spot on and their energy is infectious. It’s impossible for me to select a few stand outs as I’d end up rewriting the whole programme. Just know you’re in very good hands.
Heathers the Musical is a rollercoaster ride of twists and turns that tells a story of acceptance, love and most importantly standing up for whats right. As dark as it is, you’ll be laughing from start to finish and you’re sure to leave the theatre smiling. With a stellar cast and the same brilliant design, this touring production is ‘Big Fun’ and you’d be a fool to miss it.
Heathers the Musical is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 20th November before continuing on its UK Tour. For tour dates and tickets click here.
Production Images by Pamela Raith
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