Review: Heathers the Musical at New Wimbledon Theatre

Review: Heathers the Musical at New Wimbledon Theatre

Iconic costumes and catchy tunes made for an unforgettable night…

By Tara Robinson

Photo credit: Pamela Raith Photography

Having grown up on the 80s Heathers movie, I was eager to discover how this darkly comic story of troubled teenagers, toxic love and murder would translate to the musical stage.

I was not disappointed. Obviously a few smidgeons cheesier and jauntier than its film counterpart, Heathers the Musical sweeps you instantaneously into its heightened reality of blazers, shoulder pads and show numbers. It’s a phenomenon that, somewhat surprisingly, has garnered both a cult and a mainstream following – I noticed more than a few audience members showing up in their own costumes. The block colours, blazers and knee socks that characterise Heathers’ disctinctive costuming have evolved into an iconography that fans replicate with religious fervour.

Images 1 + 3 credit: Pamela Raith Photography

Heathers the Musical is unashamed about its levels of camp, yet somehow manages to balance its campness with a story that grows in seriousness as it unfolds. It’s a tale of doomed love, the cruelty of youth, and untimely death – but ultimately it’s a story about surviving high school. The darker tones are smoothed out by songs that really get your foot tapping – I’m reminded of a particular instance of a choreographed fight to the death set to a jaunty reprised overture. It’s a mixture that, on paper, shouldn’t work, but somehow does.

The actors are an essential ingredient in allowing this blend to work. They attack their roles with tenacity; special mention goes to Verity Thompson as Heather Chandler, who embodies her gloriously villainous role with aplomb, and fantastic line delivery. Jacob Fowler skulks around the stage in a long dark trench coat as JD, managing to be simultaneously charming and menacing, and Jenna Innes sparkles in the lead role of Veronica Sawyer, playing her role with just the right amount of relatability.

It’s easy to see why Heathers the Musical has developed such a dedicated fanbase. Filled with quotable lines, songs that stick in your head, and a story that feels as though it’s got something to say without ever taking itself too seriously, it’s a show that ensures both super-fans and casual audiences alike will have a rollicking good time.

Finishing with a heartfelt dedication to the passing of legendary theatre producer Bill Kenwright, who was responsible for first bringing the show to the West End, the night felt like a celebration of his memory, and all he worked to achieve.

Heathers the Musical runs at New Wimbledon Theatre until 28 October 2023. Tickets are still on sale – age guidance 14+. BOOK HERE