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Review - Heathers: The Musical: a bright and feisty spectacle

May 22, 2018

 

Above: Ashley Prosser as Heather Chandler with Maddi Hutchins as Heather McNamara (Left) and Georgia Murray as Heather Duke (Right). Below right: Matthew Bapty as J.D and Michael Hornery as Veronica Sawyer. Photos by Dreamcoat Photography.

 

Heathers: The Musical

Music, lyrics, and book by Laurence O'Keefe and Kevin Murphy

Directed by Angela Witcher

Musical Director – Ben Richards

Choreography – Kara Fisher and Zachary Crisan

Redcliffe Musical Theatre

102 Anzac Avenue

Redcliffe

 

Season:  18 May – 3 June. Bookings: www.redcliffemusicaltheatre.com or 07 3283 0407

 

Redcliffe Musical Theatre’s latest production Heathers: The Musical is big fun!

The show is a bright and feisty spectacle filled with a funky and energetic cast who transport Theatre 102 back to a totally bitchin’ decade.

As a cult classic, Heathers made its debut in 1988, starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. The stage adaptation sticks closely to the original movie, and fans will be happy to know this sassy descendant is still so “very”.

The darkly delicious storyline follows, Veronica Sawyer (played by Michael Hornery), and her involvement in the most ruthless clique at Westerberg High – The Heathers. Donning shoulder-pads and scrunchies, these girls know how to kick-ass, and if you’re on the outer they can make your world a living nightmare. Encouraged by her wayward boyfriend, J.D (played by Matthew Bapty), Veronica must decide if she sticks with them or sticks it to them.

Heathers: The Musical pokes juvenile fun at the struggles of popularity and the perils of high-school. While it’s cool and addictive in many parts, the show does contain some really serious issues - including bullying, harassment, alcohol and drug use, adult themes and teen suicide - taboo topics of the 80s, but extremely relevant in today’s society.

While the show at Redcliffe was a hit and audiences screamed ecstatically for their favourites, there is something about the space that just didn’t quite click. Theatre 102 isn’t particularly large and at times, dancers literally scrambled to not hit each other. The acoustics of the tin-shed also weren’t complimentary, as there were some moments where the band was off time. Constant microphone feedback was also distracting.  These small elements hindered what could have been super stellar moments.

Despite the tech issues, the energetic cast fought through barriers to deliver solid performances in their roles. Michael Hornery was a perfect choice as Veronica Sawyer.  She completely embodied the character in a convincing and natural performance. Matthew Bapty also fulfilled the expectations of a mentally unbalanced, J.D.  He was creepy, dare I say ‘emo’, and committed to his characterisation. 

Also, shining on stage was Ashley Prosser as the manipulative and killer Queen, Heather Chandler; Maddi Hutchins as Heather McNamara, whom audiences grew to adore; Clare McGhee as an awkward and nerdy Martha; Georgia Bernard as a spirited and grooving Mrs Flemming; and Gary Farmer-Trickett as the macho and secretly flamboyant, Ram’s Dad.

It was hard not to notice Gabi Joseph and Georgia Gleeson in their ensemble roles, as well. Both girls were passionate and sharp in their moves.  A closer look in the programme indicates they play alternate leading roles – proving the musical may just need to be seen for a second time. Musical highlights came from the numbers Freeze your Brain, Dead Girl Walking, Lifeboat and Blue.

RMT’s Heathers: The Musical is pretty killer. No matter your damage, grab a ticket to otherwise you’ll be a dead girl (or boy) walking.

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