Can touchy situations, like suicide, be funny? Personally If written the right way, yes
Heathers: The Musical. Based on the cult 80s movie of the same name. The dark comedy follows issues such as suicide, bullying and assault. After workshops and a Los Angeles tryout, the show premiered Off-Broadway in 2014. The show was then revamped and opened in London. It garnered a cult following in the west end. Leading to the shows songs being used on “Riverdale”, sing along shows, to now a filmed performance. The show was filmed in spring 2022 in London.
Please note the show is rated TV-MA for strong language and sexual situations. A major plot point in the story is suicide.
I saw the show off Broadway and was obsessed with it. I’m so glad it’s now documented for all to see and enjoy.
So what’s in Heathers that “colored me stoked”?
The set. One of the big changes when the show went to London is the shows simple off Broadway set. In the musical the high school is the dominant feature. Now it’s the primary set piece.
Ailsa Davidson as Veronica. A lovely singing voice and very funny. You are cheering her on from the first scene.
Using elements from the film. Something I remember is how the original production distanced itself from the film. Such as sets and costumes. When the show was revamped scenes such as croquet and pate were given more life. Even small things like Veronica eating red vines and the cheerleaders having uniforms. It’s small but nice touches, especially for fans of the original movie.
The show looks and feels like an 80s movie now. Major bonus points from me.
“Never shut up again” An act 1 showstopper! This number was added after the off Broadway run. It's a fantastic number.
Now what parts of the show can drink drain cleaner?
The audience! The audience reactions to parts of the show gets a little annoying. It almost feels as if they were cued to laugh and applaud. They very well could have been. There’s even a scene where this happens. It’s actually the only scene where it works. Other then that you can almost tell when the laughs were genuine. It felt like a sitcom. Then again there were some points that deserved a scream.
It does get a little thin by Act 2. The songs make up for that though, even though that can also feel a little repetitive too.
The content might be a little too much for some people. Some might feel a little uncomfortable with the dialogue and subject matter. This won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, especially if you haven’t seen the movie.
So "how very" is Heathers? Is it the perfect show? no. But as Martha says “are there happy endings?”It’s a well produced, well written, and well performed stage version of a cult classic. In my opinion it's one of the best that have translated from film to stage.
Heathers: The Musical is now streaming on the roku channel. You can also see the show live in London’s west end until February 2023.