Filmed last year and showing as an exclusive run on the Icon Film Channel (7 day trial available) from 1 May, Heathers the Musical takes the 1989 film by Daniel Waters as inspiration and has become a long-running hit for The Other Palace here in London.
The show is a black comedy about bullying, suicide and cliques at high school, as Veronica (Alisa Davidson) has to deal with the three Alpha Bitch Heathers (Maddison Firth’s Chandler, Vivian Panka’s Duke, Teleri Hughes’s McNamara) as well as psychotic new boy on the block, J.D. (Simon Gordon).
With a sharp score by Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe, colour motifs, larger than life characterisations, and good-girl vibes (Mhairi Angus’s Martha) Heathers the Musical has unsurprisingly achieved cult status.
It is especially popular among teen and early twenties female fans who know the moves and dialogue and proudly sport the scrunchies. This is their playpen to let off steam.
As a pro-shot show, this version of Heathers gets itself up close to the action while highlighting the atmosphere generated by an audience who whoop, cheer, and get invested in proceedings.
Compare it with MTV’s Legally Blonde to get a feel for how it works, and some of Fox and NBC’s live musicals for television such as Grease Live and Hairspray Live.
It’s theatre and film weaved together to reach those who either can’t see the show in life or want to relive their favourite moments. Meanwhile, Heathers is currently enjoying a supplementary UK tour.
The performances are all excellent, and the premise is fairly faithful to the film while exploring darker topics in a more realistic style. There’s even audience participation with the unfortunate ‘Steve”s moment in the spotlight.
In tone, Heathers the Musical has much in common with Bat Boy, Little Shop of Horrors, or Spring Awakening – slightly off-key topics concerning younger people, domestic abuse, mental problems, and power trips.
This digital version creates an energetic experience that puts you right in the room. A smaller-scale show than, say, Hamilton, which was filmed for Disney Plus, it benefits from its cast’s heart and commitment.
After its run on Icon, Heathers the Musical will receive a DVD and Blu-Ray release on 5 June. The ‘candy store’ shows no sign of closing any time soon, and we can all ‘be seventeen’ once more.
With thanks to Strike Media Ltd