Heathers: The Other Palace
Reviewed 16th June 2018
Following a hugely successful workshop of Heathers at The Other Palace last summer this brand new production has already been a hit with audience members; selling almost all of the tickets before opening night. This UK premiere features new songs, a refined book and re-imagined staging. Heathers is based on the cult 1980’s film of the same title which starred Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. It focuses on Veronica Sawyer, three ultra-popular Heathers who rule Westerberg High and a new, mysterious rebel called JD. With tensions rising, JD teaches Veronica that ‘it might kill to be a nobody but it’s murder being a somebody…’
Carrie Hope Fletcher is brilliant as Veronica Sawyer. Not only is she able to make the character believable, despite all the high school drama, but she is hilarious too. Vocally, Carrie pulls the power notes off with ease and it is great to see her delicate side during songs like ‘Seventeen‘. If looks could kill, then the audience would be goners after Jodie Steele’s fantastic performance as Heather Chandler. Not only does she have the evil glare to kill, her vocals are outstanding. All three Heathers get their chance to shine and T’Shan Williams excels during her song ‘Never Shut Up Again‘. Sophie Isaacs shows that despite her small frame she can deliver powerful and passionate vocals during ‘Lifeboat‘.
The whole cast are enthusiastic and extremely talented throughout the action-packed show. Jamie Muscato’s sinister edge as the character of JD is superb and his relationship with Carrie is fantastic, particularly during ‘Our Love is God‘. Jenny O’Leary also blows the audience away during her emotional song ‘Kindergarten Boyfriend‘. In addition, Olivia Moore stood out in the ensemble. This is her West End debut and certainly someone to look out for in the future.
The musical is great fun and energetic throughout. The music and lyrics by Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe are catchy and hilarious at the same time. There’s a great mix of songs and catchy tunes that are guaranteed to stick in audience’s heads. Direction by Andy Fickman certainly brings the show alive and the well executed choreography, designed by Gary Lloyd moves the show into the 21st Century. The stylised slo-motion sections and freeze frames are especially effective when coupled with the brilliant lighting by Ben Cracknell. For such a small stage, the set which is designed by David Shields is substantial. The entire stage is utilised and various locations are created with ease. At some points the multiple set changes do distract slightly from the show in this busy plot but this is a minor issue in this outstanding production.
Having not even been open a week yet, this production has already sold out. Most of these tickets had sold before rehearsals had even started. Much of this is due to the cult factor of the show, coupled with perhaps a large following for its lead performer. However, this show thoroughly deserves to be sold out. It is a fantastic demonstration of musical theatre. Catchy songs, hilarious and serious at the same time and guaranteed to make the audience smile and cheer throughout. What more could you want?
Heathers is playing at The Other Palace until the 4th August. For more information and to enter the ticket lottery click here.