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Yorkshire Times
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Phil Hopkins
Arts & Travel Editor
@philhopkinsuk
7:00 AM 15th September 2021
arts

Black, Barbed & Brilliantly Funny - Heathers

Photo: Pamela Raith
Photo: Pamela Raith
Heathers The Musical is as black as the night and sharper than a Gurkha’s kukri knife with enough offensive material to start a woke rebellion…..and I LOVED IT!

It is the first time I have seen this show,
Photo: Pamela Raith
Photo: Pamela Raith
inspired by the 1989 Daniel Waters film, Heathers, starring Winona Ryder – and it was a breath of fresh air that would leave society’s ‘snowflakes’ gasping for breath: long may it reign!

Westerberg High’s Veronica Sawyer (Rebecca Wickes) is a school nobody, desperate to be popular so, when she gets adopted by the glamorous but impossibly cruel trio, The Heathers – Heather Chandler (Maddison Firth), Heather McNamara (Lizzy Parker) and Heather Duke (Merryl Ansah) – she is ecstatic…..even though they only want her for her ability to forge signatures and handwriting!

It satirises suicide, alludes to the culture of 'cancelling individuals', and takes an affectionate swipe at homosexuality and sorority sex, wrapping its near-the-edge naughtiness in a high-octane, black comedy veneer, pushed along by a powerful, energetic rock score.

Maddison Firth was the nasty piece of work and chief ringleader, Heather Chandler, and, once ‘out of the way’ she returns as a ghost, dishevelled, less beautiful and a permanent conscience on the shoulder of her co-murderer, Veronica Sawyer.

Photo: Pamela Raith
Photo: Pamela Raith
These two ladies were excellent, not only of voice – Wickes drove the show on with the determination of a young performer eager to delight and leave an impression – but for comedic value. Firth was both glamorous and totally adept at laughing at herself, inviting the audience to do the same with an easy stage confidence honed on the cruise ships, the new ‘working men’s clubs’ for many performers.

Simon Gordon as psychotic Jason ‘JD’ Dean would have been at home in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Georgina Hagen as Ms Fleming...
Photo: Pamela Raith
Photo: Pamela Raith
...Liam Doyle and Rory Phelan as school jocks Kurt Kelly and Ram Sweeney….ALL had me laughing out loud and that takes some doing. I applaud you all.

If you don’t enjoy this musical then you’re not listening - for that’s what it requires. The gems are in the lyrics and the music, if not entirely memorable, will have you tapping your feet.

Kids eager to shove-one-up their parents will love this musical as it will offend some older people but, since I am only 60, young of spirit and currently ‘without child’, I am allowed to love it - I have no one to tut at.

Go and undo the top button of your trousers (or skirt) for a laugh out loud night of free-spirited, couldn’t give a damn musical comedy: black and beastly but brilliant!

Heathers The Musical
Sheffield Lyceum
Until September 18th

Original Tour Review
Leeds Grand Theatre