DramaMusicalSouth West

Heathers – Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

Reviewer: Beth Steer

Book, Music and Lyrics: Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe

Based on the film by: Daniel Waters

If there’s anything to say aboutHeathers, it’s that you need to buy tickets to go and watch it immediately.

Based on the 1988 film of the same name, the stage adaptation is a chaotic, satirical, and bewitchingly dark venture into the world of American high school and the murky stereotypes that lie within. It centres around three ‘popular’ girls (all called Heather), the wannabe-popular-so-bad-it’s-desperate Veronica, and a mysterious bad boy that’s new to town.

But don’t let that put you off.

This is the best thing you’ll see on stage all year. ThinkMean Girlsbut with a healthy added dose of murder. Combine that with an astounding soundtrack, performed by an incredibly talented cast, all of whom could take lead roles in competing musicals and absolutely smash them any day of the week, and we’re somewhere on the way to describing this show.

The calibre of singing, dancing, and acting is second to none – there’s really nothing you could fault. But it’s more than just excellence.

The premise – as described above – has the potential to make for a frankly horrendous musical, filled with twee stereotypes and lazy direction. This is the absolute opposite. It’s cutting, witty, and incredibly clever – while being laugh out loud funny, too.

It’s hard to express how talented vocally the entire cast is. The leads are phenomenal – both in the high-energy songs and softer numbers where the harmonies shine – and the smaller parts, when they get to showcase their range, are equally spine-tingling. Energetic choreography, costumes that don’t miss a trick, and clever use of lighting all add to the atmosphere, letting the sheer talent shine through.

Stand out performances include Maddison Firth as Heather Chandler, who unapologetically makes a role that could be easy to shroud in stereotype and cliche 100% her own. Simon Gordon, too, as JD, is as chilling and darkly comedic as you could possibly hope for, and Liam Doyle and Rory Phelan, as Kurt and Ram, again manage to conform to, and yet at the same time reinvent, stereotypical characters that bring vigour and life to the whole performance.

It would be easy for this musical to be really, really bad. Instead, top-tier talent, first-class direction, and flawless execution make it an absolute treasure to behold. Go in with no expectations, and you’ll leave on an absolute high. Go in with high expectations, and there’s no way you’ll be disappointed. Either way, you’re guaranteed to be listening to the soundtrack on the way home.

Runs until 4 December 2021

The Reviews Hub Score

The UK tour of Heathers has top-tier talent, first-class direction, and is flawlessly executed.

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The Reviews Hub - South West

The Southwest team is under the editorship of John McRoberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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