Jacq of all Trades, Master of Writing
A deadly tale of Queen Bees and Wannabees
Heathers, The Musical, will lure you into a world of darkness through a facade of Queen Bee extravagance. Expect the unexpected that comes from the fragile minds of teenagers. Rebellion, revenge, murder, guns, bullying, gang rape, suicide, sex and fistfights are part of the precarious journey of this group of seventeen-year-olds. Led by the three Heathers, the leaders of a Queen Bee gang, whose sole purpose is to inflict suffering on easy prey. Heather Chandler, played by Tanèle Storm Graham, holds the power to decide who's in and who's out of her clique. She is a force to be reckoned with and has a magnificent stage presence. Zoe Richards, who played Heather McNamara was a joy to watch and the third Heather Duke (Carla Beard) gave a wicked performance.
Genevieve Tree gave an impressive and powerful portrayal of Veronica Sawyer, a conservative A student whose best friend is the unpopular, sensitive, overweight Martha Dunstock (Kirsty Huth). Their idea of a good night out was to watch 'The Princess Bride' for the umpteenth time. When a twist of fate landed Veronica in the Heathers clique, she abandoned her drab garb for the Heathers inspired skimpy outfit, and alcohol-fuelled nights out. What proceeded was the loss of her virginity to the brooding JD, played by Dylan Hodge. It didn't take long for her life to spiral out of control as her colleagues were murdered, or attempted suicide.
The musical numbers are a treat and work well to contrast the dark and serious topics that are the foundation of the story. My favourite songs were Beautiful, Candy Store, The Me Inside of Me, and Seventeen. That's not saying I didn't enjoy the others. I also appreciated the moments of comic relief that broke the seriousness of the situation. With such a large cast it was difficult to keep your eyes on everyone during the group numbers but I was impressed that everyone managed to bring their own special traits to their characters, especially those who played multiple characters. You could have fooled me they were the same person.
Technically, the production was of professional standard. Director and Choreographer, Jamie Watt is to be commended on his choice of cast and crew and the visual journey we experienced as an audience. Musical Director, Julie Whiting is to be commended on the outstanding musical performances under her direction, and her choice of orchestra members. Credit to the stage crew for the team effort that made this production of such a high standard. The lighting was superb with well thought out techniques to instantly change the mood. The colour co-ordination of the spotlights with the Heather's costumes was a spectacular introduction to the three Queen Bees. The costumes were outstanding, perfectly reflecting the character's personalities.
Considering Heathers is a production about tortured souls, the only comment I'd like to make, that I feel would have enhanced the audience's emotional experience of this poignant production, would have been to sing with the conviction and brutality that reflected the emotional state of the characters. On a technical level, the singing was superb but I felt that some of the numbers lacked the raw emotion these characters would have been feeling.
As sugar-coated as this production is with its spectacular presentation, the undertones of malevolence are quite confronting. The production is rated MA 15 for audiences over 15, however, I caution that the content is disturbing and may not be suitable for those with a sensitive nature.
Spotlight Theatre is set up in dinner theatre style allowing you to sit at a table and enjoy a drink and snack whilst being entertained. It is a licensed venue offering a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, snacks and even a blanket to wrap around yourself if you find yourself getting chilly in the theatre.