Heathers: The Musical

Heathers: The Musical
By Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy. GJ Productions. Directed by Jack Wilkinson with Musical Direction by Peter Verhagen. St Martins Theatre, 28 St Martins Lane, South Yarra. 26 October- 3 November, 2018.

GJ Productions expertly manages the combination of musical elements with black comedy to maintain the original spirit of the 1988 film. The casting evokes the characters with accuracy while allowing the performers to bring their own style to the parts. The milieu of a typical US high school is meticulously reproduced. The attention to detail in the costumes, staging and accents, combined with the incredible enthusiasm of the performers, produces a vivid and vibrant performance.  

Antoinette Davis (Veronica) and Jack Michel (JD) capture the depth and ambivalence of their leading roles perfectly and this is frequently poignantly conveyed through impressive vocal abilities across the entire cast. The emotional resonance of the music is echoed through the dynamic staging of the show. The movement, dance and action are seamlessly woven together and executed with enormous precision.

The presence of an exceptional eight-piece band adds to the power of the music and the story. However, the limitations of the performance space often put the singers in competition with the musicians and the acoustic challenges that this creates are not always easily overcome. One of the highlights of the show is the rendition of the song “Seventeen”. The evocative and moving quality of this bitter-sweet melody is beautifully captured and is a prime example of how this production is able to charm and captivate its audience.

Patricia Di Risio

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