Theatre Review: No Homecoming For Hideous Heathers
With a dark menu of teen angst, death and sex, 1988 Winona Ryder movie Heathers became a cult classic. Any musical adaption comes laden with expectations — and its legion of fans will worship it even if it's as rancid as a prom queen doing the walk of shame.
Three bitchy girls (the Heathers) enlist new recruit Veronica — Carrie Hope Fletcher, a punchy performance as the show's only likeable character — to embolden their reign of terror. The hot male outsider, J.D. is Jamie Muscato, looking like he's grappling trapped wind rather than a tortured past, who jacknifes the plot into an oncoming stream of fake suicides and violence.
The snarkiest one liners are stripped from the movie, but the film's darkest undertones have been entirely neutered by a bombastic, synth pop score, banal lyrics and the kind of theatrical "look at me!" wailing which makes High School Musical look like high art.
The best that can be said is that the cast look like they're having fun — even if that fun means squeezing questionable laughs from an attempted overdose. Legally Blonde proved that you can make a successful musical out of a cult teen movie.
Heathers proves that you can't.
Heathers, Theatre Royal Haymarket, London SW1Y 4HT, £25-£75. Until 24 November
Last Updated 13 September 2018