CD Review: HEATHERS THE MUSICAL, Original London Cast Album
Heathers: The Musical has recently enjoyed a limited West End run, following an extremely successful debut UK production at The Other Palace in London. The show is based on the 1988 cult film of the same name and although it is overwhelmingly a comedy piece, dark issues are tackled - including bullying, suicide and homophobia.
The Original London Cast recording of Heathers is currently available to download and stream, but Ghostlight Records will be releasing a physical CD on 31 May. There are three previously unreleased songs featured on the album, with "I Say No" being a particular favourite of mine as it brings a strong female figure to the forefront.
Following its Off-West End run, almost the entire cast transferred with the show to the Theatre Royal Haymarket with the lead casting including the sensational Carrie Hope Fletcher as Veronica and Jamie Muscato playing JD.
Vocally, Fletcher is as secure as you like and she brings bundles of character to the musical numbers, whilst demonstrating perfect diction. The opening track, "Beautiful", feels like something from a stereotypical American teen movie soundtrack and sets the scene effortlessly. Then going into "Candy Store", I get a Grease 2-type vibe with its catchy, toe-tapping beat.
Fletcher shines during "Fight For Me" and does a staggering riff in Act Two's "Dead Girl Walking (Reprise)". Her vocals when paired with Muscato's during "The Me Inside of Me" are also a real treat for the ears, followed by some delicious harmonies from the company. The ensemble also impress during "Big Fun" and "Yo Girl".
Muscato has a stunning tone to his voice, but when listening to his opening number, "Freeze Your Brain", he comes across as very classical, which doesn't quite feel in keeping with the rest of the show. As the album progresses, however, Muscato appears to relax into it and the aforementioned fact becomes less noticeable - intentional or not?
The band sound exceptional delivering Laurence O'Keefe and Kevin Murphy's music, but no more so than during "Dead Girl Walking", featuring an instrumental break with the electric guitar being the focus. The fairly rocky score does dip into other genres too, which is greatly welcomed, including a Motown feel in "Never Shut Up Again" and a sense of gospel during "Shine A Light".
Lyrically, "Lifeboat" is probably my favourite number, performed superbly by Sophie Isaacs as McNamara. Many of the songs are quite conversational but there is an added depth here.
There is little to fault with this album, as where it could potentially fall down, it succeeds. I would happily play the recording from start to finish and, unlike many others of its kind, there are no dead spots where momentum is lost. Congratulations to all involved.
Heathers: The Musical Original Cast Recording can be streamed now from https://ghostlightrecords.lnk.to/heathers-west-end or a CD can be purchased from 31 May.