An audience can make or break a show, as much for the actors on stage as for the rest of the people in the crowd, and that applies all the more so for the latest run of Heathers the Musical.
Its West End shows are crammed with young women – many dressed as their favorite Heather – and their gay best friends.
They’re heavily invested in every high and low of life at Westerberg High, the fictional school where Heathers is set. It’s hard not to get swept up in their love for the musical.
Based on the 1988 movie of the same name, Heathers depicts life at Westerberg High, where popularity is a matter of life and death. High school is a brutal place unless you’re a jock or even better, one of the three ‘Heathers’.
Lead character Veronica Sawyer, played by a captivating Carrie Hope Fletcher, is just another nobody who would like to have at least one day at school free from bullying. But her dreams come true when her forgery abilities get her into the Heathers’ inner circle.
That’s until the mysterious and handsome JD turns up, who at first glance would seem to be the perfect love interest for Veronica, until his dark side is revealed.
Heathers is fun, camp and murderous
The musical made its European premiere in June this year and was so popular it became the highest grossing show at The Other Palace. It runs until 24 November and features a brand new song called I Say No.
The original film was an instant cult classic that starred a young Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. It shone a harsh light on the high school social politics, while offering a high camp, murderous edge.
While the musical lacks the cynicism of the film, it is certainly a hysterical romp. It manages to hilariously shine a light on serious issues such as, teen suicide, bullying, fat shaming and homophobia.
Heathers the Musical is buoyed by its fans’ passion. Otherwise it potentially could have been another run of the mill show about the harsh realities of American high school life.
It’s hard not to be moved when people around you are crying, laughing, holding their breaths and cheering with excitement. Their enthusiasm is so infectious I found myself jumping to my feet in a standing ovation along with everyone else. They clearly were not just applauding for the fun production but to celebrate a favorite piece of pop culture history.
Given that 70% of Heathers the Musical is under 30 years old, producers are now offering more than 15,000 seats at just £25.
Heathers the Musical is on at the Theatre Royal Haymarket until 26 November.