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Heathers | Yvonne Arnaud

“Dear diary. My teenage angst has a body count” 

Many a story has been told on the subject of cliques in American High School, and the dangers of their toxic behaviour, and Heathers pushes this to the extreme. A world where the nobodies get the chance to destroy the system, leaving behind their conscience and unforetold consequences. Veronica Sawyer (Jenna Innes) is the straight-A student who no one actually pays any attention to, but by some fateful coincidence gets to join the Heathers. These girls are the Goddesses of Westerburg High School - never bothered, never harassed. Soon after, Veronica meets Jason Dean (Jacob Fowler), and together they take on the ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ lifestyle to rid the world of the Heathers and the popular kids. 

This musical is an unmatched and fantastically entertaining piece of theatre. Everything down from the brilliantly problematic score to the powerful lighting, Heathers is a show that will go down in history. Despite the dark themes of suicide, murder, and depression, the show’s score (originally composed by Laurence O'Keefe and Kevin Murphy) manages to give an upbeat - and almost deceivingly uplifting - tone. This in turn gives a show where the audience is laughing and clapping along to songs with disturbing lyrics, which is precisely what makes this show so problematic and yet so addictive. The characters themselves all serve a very specific purpose, from the dim-witted jocks to the stoner chick to the Heathers, the show has every stereotype perfectly represented.

The show, however, wouldn’t exist without its performers, and the cast was nothing short of absolutely epic. Jenna Innes, holding the role of Veronica, clearly made the character her own, delivering an image of simultaneous naïveté and ruthlessness. Not to mention her vocal technique, which had everyone floored from start to finish, and left this reviewer in tears during ‘I Say No.’ Innes played opposite Jacob Fowler, whose JD was simply diabolical. However, this was portrayed in the most twisted of ways, as his mannerisms can so easily be misinterpreted as innocence and even kindness. It all comes down to the tone of voice. At first glance, Fowler’s JD conveys nothing but soft words and good intentions, but as the show progresses, they slowly turn to reveal his psychotic nature, which the audience inevitably loves to hate.

Fowler is the perfect JD for this simple reason.  Then, there is Heather Chandler. The almighty. She is just diabolical. What else to say about the Queen B of Westerburg High? Verity Thompson delivered this role with perfection, leaving behind a very tough act to follow, even after a mere couple of seconds on stage. Her vocals are, in Chandler style, fierce and absolutely unforgettable. From the very first second that the audience is able to see her, she asserts dominance with her head held high, and terrifying looks of nonchalance, which she sustains effortlessly throughout. She is a mythic queen. 

Considering the performance delivered by every single character, it is no wonder that Heathers has come to be known as an institution which creates some of the best actors in the West End. From start to finish, the songs are incredibly vocally demanding, yet beautifully satisfying, making Heathers one of the most impressive contemporary shows ever created. Seeing it close next week will be heartbreaking as it has taken the heart of so many fans over its lengthy run. Here’s to hoping for a revival in the next few years as this show deserves a permanent place in theatres. Heathers plays at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre until 21st October - for more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


PR Invite | Photography by Pamela Raith 


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