REVIEW - Cult musical Heathers at Birmingham's Alex Theatre has everything - The Bromsgrove Standard

REVIEW - Cult musical Heathers at Birmingham's Alex Theatre has everything

Bromsgrove Editorial 17th May, 2023   0

THE CULT musical ‘Heathers’ is back in town at the Alex and power dressed 14+ fans turned out in their droves on press night to pay their homage.

To be honest I was a newbie to this show but soon discovered that ‘Heathers’ is no ‘Grease’ or ‘Fame’.

There are no heroes but antiheroes and whilst it’s full of teenage angst the topics are not teenage romances but murder, suicide and date rape. Not forgetting eating disorders and a bit of homophobia.

Picture by Pamela Raith Photography. s

I’m not sure if Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe the writers of the holy trinity of book, lyrics and music intended it to glorify high school homicides or to simply say this is what’s behind those daily mass killings of student on student atrocities that grace out TV news screens far too often.

Is it because they are bullied? Not understood at home? Not popular? –

Perhaps the third is the greatest reason of all to go to school with a satchel full of firepower. The adage that no-one can be as cruel as kids is timeless. Today there are more ways to bully and fewer places to hide from it.

Picture by Pamela Raith Photography. s

Put all that on one side as undoubtedly wise old money-making machine producer Bill Kenwright has undoubtedly done in staging the tour.

Rather just let audiences make up their own minds and wallow in some fabulous songs and smart dialogue performed by a great company in a nigh faultless production that shamelessly dips its fingers deep into the stuff of teenage souls.

The musical is set in the Westerburg High School, whose motto is The Rottweilers, and follows the fortunes of its student year in 1989.

Jenna Innes is outstanding as Veronica Sawyer, a non-popular nobody till she joins the beautiful but cruel trio called the Heathers.

Once Veronica becomes part of the omnipotent clique she gets to wear a vivid blue power blazer, along with three other wealthy and beautiful girls with the same first name. That’s green blazered Summer Priest as Heather Duke, in the yellow one is Elizia Bowden as Heather McNamara, and in Tally-Ho red plus tartan mini skirt is Verity Chandler the ruthless queen bee, Heather Chandler.

Picture by Pamela Raith Photography. s

All of the Heathers are perfectly played with awesome singing voices.

Jacob Fowler is a tour-de-force as Jason ‘JD’ Dean. He starts off as the mysterious stranger who comes in like a kung-fu hero to right wrongs and capture Veronica’s heart.  Turns out he’s more toxic than the rest of the students, the son of an assassin for hire he metamorphosisies before our eyes.

Picture by Pamela Raith Photography. s

Kingsley Morton touches the heartstrings as the most bullied student Martha Dunnstock. Alex Woodward and Morgan Jackson hit the spot as grossly comedic,  durr-brained duo Kurt and Ram.

Acclaimed American screen and stage director Andy Fickman directs with broad brash brush strokes and Gary Lloyd’s choreography is equally powerful stuff. Musical direction by Will Joy is solid and driven.

I loved the songs – favourites being ‘Shine a Light ‘and ‘Dead Girl Walking.’

Picture by Pamela Raith Photography. s

It gets a well deserved five stars from me as it would unfair to give it less.

‘Heathers’ hits exactly where it’s targeted and scores a massive bulls eye from its young devotees – methinks I’m too old to be part of this club.

Heathers is at the Alex until Saturday, May 20. Click here for times, tickets and more information.


Review by Euan Rose

Euan Rose reviews 

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