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Monday, 18 June 2018

Review : Heathers at The Other Palace

After the success of the workshop production of Heathers that premiered at The Other Palace in the summer of 2017 there has been a surge in excitement for Heathers within the UK audience. When a full production premiere was announced, the theatre community went into a melt down and Heathers pretty much sold out in the matter of 24 hours. I was lucky enough to get a ticket and can vow it is one of the most beautiful pieces of theatre I have watched. 

This version of Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe’s musical (which was first performed Off-Broadway in 2014) has been tightened up, while keeping to the original premier of the production. The cast - who were all very much praised in the theatre community already - have grown into their character portrayals, and have delivered, what I believe some of their best performance’s in their careers to date.

The show opens and we meet the stereotypical high school geek in the form of Veronica Sawyer (Carrie Hope Fletcher) who is going through the drama’s of high school, wishing and longing for the days of elementary school, where life was simple. Carrie Hope Fletcher, proves why she is one of the most successful performers in the UK at the moment, with an outstanding portrayal of Veronica - perfectly portrayed the struggles of high school and later on in the show on what it is really like to be a bitch. Which to many of her fans is a complete opposite to the characteristics of Carrie Hope Fletcher. Sassy, Charming and Humorous, her strong vocals work well with her character. Veronica is potentially one of the most vocally demanding roles within Theatre. Fletcher rarely leaves the stage from the moment the show begins, but finds a way to hold herself and deliver her best throughout each number. 

Carrie Hope Fletcher really begins to shine with the arrival of the Heathers, Chandler (Jodie Steele), Duke (T’shan Williams) and McNamara (Sophie Isaacs). Who all bounced off each others energy throughout the performance. All three Heathers tore apart the score with their powerhouse vocals, keeping it slick, clean and tidy with the choreography (Gary Lloyd) complementing them all. A notable mention has to be awarded to the new song written exclusively for the UK premier production, Williams made the audience fall in love with ‘Never shut up again’ and I am praying a UK cast recording is released so I can have it on repeat.

Veronica (Carrie Hope Fletcher) and J.D. (Jamie Muscato) are one of the most iconic musical theatre duos. Jamie Muscato is one of the fastest rising performers in the UK, and after seeing him in Big Fish (The Other Palace) last year I am glad to see him back on the stage. Muscato really pulled the audience through a journey of mixed emotions and feelings towards J.D. and his effortless vocals brought goosebumps across my whole body. I think UK audiences will be seeing a lot of Muscato once Heathers has had it’s run. 

A notable mention has to be made to Martha Dunnstock (Jenny O’Leary) I had high expectations after seeing O’Leary in the recent UK tour of RENT, and she did not disappoint. Jenny O’Leary portrayed everything you’d expect in a loyal high school best friend and more. I fell in love with Martha and sympathised with her throughout the show. I am blown away with her vocals every time and this was proved in Act two (Kindergarten Boyfriend).

Ram Sweeney (Dominic Andersen), Kurt Kelly (Christopher Chung), Ms Fleming/Veronica’s Mom (Rebecca Lock) Ram’s Dad/Coach Ripper (Edward Baruwa) and Kurt’s Dad/Principal Gowan (Jon Boydon) who all made up the featured ensemble were all a credit to the production and built the show up.

Heathers is running at The Other Palace until 4th August.

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