Review: HEATHERS THE MUSICAL, @sohoplace

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By: May. 29, 2024
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Review: HEATHERS THE MUSICAL, @sohoplace
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Heathers The MusicalMuch like the movie that preceded it, Heathers The Musical is well on its way to earning cult status. The explosive coming-of-age drama takes playground politics to new heights as Veronica Sawyer joins the Heahters, Westerberg High's poisonous elite, in an attempt to survive until graduation.

Esme Bowdler, <a target=Jenna Innes, Sedona Sky and Daisy Twells - Heathers The Musical (2024) - Pamela Raith Photography" height="753" src="https://cloudimages.broadwayworld.com/upload13/2311890/Esme%20Bowdler%2C%20Jenna%20Innes%2C%20Sedona%20Sky%20and%20Daisy%20Twells%20-%20Heathers%20The%20Musical%20(2024)%20-%20Pamela%20Raith%20Photography%20(003).jpg" width="600" />
Esme Bowdler, Jenna Innes, Sedona Sky and Daisy Twells - Pamela Raith Photography 

However, Veronica's ascent to the top of the high-school food chain is not without its complications. Now an active participant in the bullying she once detested, Veronica struggles to find her footing in this new world. When newcomer J.D. arrives on the scene, his influence over Veronica means that teenage angst turns deadly. 

No stranger to the U.K. stage, Heathers The Musical has been performed near-continuously in recent years - and it's easy to see why. With a strong score from Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy, niche movie references, and an incredibly "quotable" book, Heathers is an easy crowd-pleaser. 

While not much has changed in terms of set design and choreography between productions, the new production manages to feel fresh. The core themes present within the text feel more relevant than ever, and the latest intake of Westerberg High Students each bring something new to the table.

Jenna Innes quickly demonstrates why she has been invited to reprise her role of Veronica, with expert vocals and a captivating stage presence. While many of Veronica's actions during the show are puzzling, Innes' emotive performance makes it easier to see how Veronica gets caught up in the chaos. 

Esme Bowdler is equally compelling as Queen Bee Heather Chandler, commanding the stage from the moment she appears. Even as her character lingers in the background, you can't quite take your eyes off her. The trio of Heathers is rounded off by Sedona Sky (Heather Duke) and Daisy Twells (Heather McNamara), each offering fresh takes on some of the show's more iconic characters. 

Heathers The Musical
Iván Fernández González, Jason Battersby and Esme Bowler - Pamela Raith Photography 

Ivan Fernandez Gonzalez and Jason Battersby are also fantastic in the roles of Kurt and Ram, with expert comic timing and flawlessly synchronised movements. Amy Miles delivers a powerful rendition of "Kindergarten Boyfriend" in her west-end debut as Martha.

Heathers The Musical
Keelan McAuley and Jenna Innes - Pamela Raith Photography 

However, its Keelan McAuley as J.D. who gives the standout performance of the night. McAuley's masterful delivery of Freeze Your Brain is uniquely captivating, tapping into the character's potential darkness right off the bat. His portrayal of J.D. is, at times, genuinely terrifying. In finding the perfect blend between vulnerable and unhinged, he never overplays his hand but instead adds new depth to the character. 

However, it is also worth noting that the entire ensemble gives strong, engaging performances. With thirteen cast members making their West End debuts, it is a delight to see so much new talent on the stage, and there's no doubt that they will become familiar faces on West End stages when graduating from Westerberg.

Heathers The Musical
The Cast Of Heathers The Musical -  Pamela Raith Photography 

While it would be nice to see some variation in staging, the latest production of Heathers The Musical is a strong one. Elevated by compelling, nuanced performances, the cast share both a genuine chemistry and a love for the story they are telling. This alone makes Heathers the Musical worth the watch! 

Heathers The Musical is at @sohoplace until 6 July.

Photo Credit: Pamela Raith




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