Colour me stoked- a new cast is taking to Westerberg High School as the class of 1989 come together to create the latest version of the smash hit musical, Heathers. The cult classic revival, directed by Andy Fickman, has the audience going (corn) nuts from start to finish for its wild plot and infectious score, partnered with engrossing staging and vocals.
September 1st and Veronica Sawyer- played excellently by Erin Caldwell- is recounting her experiences of the levels of social hierarchy, as she remains feeling outcast for yet another year at school. Alongside her best friend, Martha Dunstock (Lydia Eliza Roberts), they enjoy sharing quiet movie nights in: a vast contest to the events of the popular kids. Jocks, Ram Sweeney (Brandon Gale) and Kurt Kelly (Tobias Turley) thrive on causing trouble and being bullies, where some intense slow mo fight scenes depict some incredible- and hilarious- facial expressions, as adorned in his long black coat, rebellious new boy that goes by the name JD (Nathanael Landskroner) is never scared to put up a fight. When Veronica's forgery talents lead to a way into the Heathers group, she embraces her rise to popularity, meanwhile discovering it might just be a downfall in everything she truly craved.
Opening with 'Beautiful', it's clear from the start that Erin Caldwell has the innocence nailed, with the hinting undertones of potential doom budding. This is shortly followed by the immense entrance of Heather Chandler, Heather McNamara and Heather Duke, dressed in their iconic colours: Maddison Firth, Jasmine Beel and Vivian Panka respectively. Their unparalleled social status radiates as their conceited and condescending personalities tear apart anything in their way, initially demonstrated in 'Candy Store'.
Amidst 7-Eleven, Nathanael Landskroner's pinnacle performance comes in 'Freeze Your Brain', where JD's identity comes more to fruition, and he discusses his troubled past. Then, a flurry of further brilliantly composed tracks by Kevin Murphy and Laurence O'Keefe follow (also creators of the book). 'Never Shut Up Again' sees Vivian Panka take centre role and show off those powerful vocals, before act two begins with 'My Dead Gay Son'- a rendition by Ryan Bennett (Kurt's Dad) and Stuart Turner (Ram's Dad) that kicks the madness off in style. Ashleigh Harvey's depiction of Ms Fleming is wonderful, and while picking on her 'Steve' in the audience, demonstrates some hilarious ad lib, to pair with the character. Prior to this, 'Seventeen' is a beautiful duet by JD and Veronica, but later on, Erin Caldwell's unbelievable way of holding the room throughout 'I Say No' utterly steals the show.
Since the piece has had various runs, each character is well developed, and the cast ensure that these legacies live on, firmly cemented into the theatre world. However, the plot line remains utterly bizarre, so thankfully everything else makes up for it! The overall message is nothing to take away with you, but you will have had a great night out.
Captivating choreography by Gary Lloyd fills the stage in almost every scene. With a large ensemble considering the space given, it is conducted very well in order to impressively fit the floor. There is so much going on, that it's inevitable that expressions and movements (often unique to the individual performance) sadly go amiss, but there's never a dull moment.
With a first rate soundtrack, best heard live, and some stellar staging, Heathers is back with a bang. Hey yo Westerberg- get yourself down to The Other Palace for some big fun!