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27th Apr 2023

REVIEW: Heathers the Musical at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre

Katy Thornton

Mean Girls, but it’s the 80s… and there’s murder.

I will open this review with a very clear disclaimer – I already adore Heathers the Musical. This was my second time seeing it on stage at the Bord Gáis Theatre in as many years, and I think I will make it my mission to go every time it’s back forevermore. I am the kind of person who has “Candy Store” in my everyday Spotify playlist, so just know that you are reading this review from the point of view of a Heathers stan, the musical and the 1988 film.

Now, onto the review.

The Summary

For those who don’t know the story of Heathers, Veronica Sawyer is a girl on the outskirts of the high school social sphere, until she seizes an opportunity to get in with the popular girls, the Heathers (think the Plastics from Mean Girls, but with matching outfits, and croquette sticks) (oh, and they’re all called Heather).

While she rises to fame, Veronica meets bad boy Jason Dean, or J.D., who intrigues her with his dark and brooding ways, and ultimately assists her in a revenge plot that goes horribly wrong after Veronica puts a step out of line with Heather Chandler. The story follows Veronica as she tries to negotiate between her feelings for J.D., obviously a bad influence but who loves her in a way she hasn’t experienced before (and maybe shouldn’t ever) and the series of terrible events that spiral out of control as she tries to make it through high school alive. Sound dramatic? Well, let’s just say Veronica has good reason to be concerned about this.

The Review & Highlights

Heathers the Musical is the exact kind of campy fun one wants to have midweek. It is no wonder it is such a cult classic, taking typical teenage angst and awkwardness, and going that extra mile with it, making it as dramatic as it feels to the adolescents it’s happening to.

Every song is an absolute banger, the costume choices are pristine, and the array of characters are incredibly lovable, despite the fact many of them have some pretty serious flaws (murder is just another after-school activity at Westerberg High).

Highlights of the performance had to be the musical number “My Dead Gay Son”, which was so good that a member of the crowd exhaled “oh shit” as it got going, eliciting a lot of laughter from their fellow spectators. Heather Chandler, played by Verity Thompson, pulled off her role as, in Veronica’s words, the “Mythic Bitch” to absolute perfection and delivered her craziest one-liners (we’re personally thinking of “well f*ck me gently with a chainsaw”) with great comedic timing and the exact right amount of poise and authority that had the audience buckled with laughter.

J.D. and Veronica’s chemistry was off the charts and entirely believable, which is a necessary element for this story. Jacob Fowler, who plays J.D., achieves the perfect balance of nihilistic creep and covetable bad boy Veronica couldn’t possibly not fall for. We totally got the “I can fix him” mentality (you know, to a certain point).

Kurt and Ram were hilarious, and stole nearly every scene they were in, which says a lot when they shared the stage with the Heathers themselves more often than not.

Heathers is a dark comedy, and takes the piss out of a lot of otherwise serious issues, so if you’re easily offended, maybe skip this one (although I hope for your sake that you aren’t, because it is a hell of a lot of fun).

A note if you have seen the 1988 film – while the story plays out much the same, the shift from screen to stage is a big one, with the most obvious being that the film that inspires the play is not a musical, so naturally there’s a bit of a tonal change. If you can accept they are very much separate entities, and as such are going to satisfy the viewer in different ways, I think you’ll still love Heathers the Musical, the same way I do.

The Downside

My only critique of Heathers the Musical is that it’s not sticking around longer, otherwise I would 100% be going again. There are still tickets left on sale – if you’re even a little curious about the rollercoaster that is Heathers the Musical, I highly recommend you book some before it’s gone. The show is running at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre until Saturday 6th May.

Header image via Instagram/heathersmusical

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