In a break with tradition, Heathers The Musical at The Other Palace hasn’t held a formal press night. Crafty marketing and the fanbase for the 1989 teen blockbuster film with Winona Ryder and Christian Slater mean it’s selling out to young and enthusiastic audiences. Although producers style this six-week run as a ‘preview’, no transfer is yet announced and tickets are up to £75 apiece, so it’s worth reporting on what all the fuss is about.
It’s a refreshingly black comedy about high school angst, the importance of being popular, and murder. For an unconventional story it’s given a surprisingly conventional musical treatment. Derivative and superfluous songs and a cardboard set mean it’s less fun than, say, Wicked or Legally Blonde.
But for your money you do get an energetic and enthusiastic cast who take the material to another level. They also make the piece a lot more likeable than the film. Carrie Hope Fletcher as Veronica gives the piece its heart, and Jamie Muscato with his smouldering looks and tenor voice gives the dark character of JD many shades of grey.
The Heathers (Jodie Steele, T’Shan Williams and Sophie Isaacs) look and sound great... even if you’re meant to hate them. There’s also on stage beefcake with Dominic Andersen and Chris Chung as the high school jocks, running around in only their jocks.
Sure there are occasional nods to the serious issue of teen suicide. But really, Heathers is about having fun, and getting even. Just like a Heather would do.
Heathers The Musical, The Other Palace, Palace Street, SW1E 5JA, £25-£75, until 4 August 2018.