"How Very"..... Heathers The Musical Review
YOU never really forget what it is like to be a teenager.
The want for inclusion.
The need to be invisible.
Waiting for the school bell and adult life.
Counting the zits and dreaming of your crush.
Weekend parties and week long study.
Watching Heathers The Musical which opens tonight at The New Life Centre until Saturday, I was taken back to my days of high school, while some things stay the same, how so much changes.
As a teenager, I didn’t have a mobile phone and thank goodness Facebook and Social media didn’t exist, I can still remember the dial tonne waiting for the Internet to slowly connect to our computer in the dining room.
But many parts of high school are still part of the social fabric of a young person’s life, wanting to be accepted, be liked by the high school hierarchy of the ‘popular’.
While at the same time for those who are bullied want to go on and be who they are, stay out of sight, out of mind.
Then you have the students, who are struggling with their identity, who they are, how they feel, who they love, where they fit. Some may be at the end of assault and violence at school and maybe at home and dark thoughts cross their mind that it would be easy to not be around.
And let’s not forget to have an online presence, post photos of yourself, bully, harass, become an adult before you are ready, do things before you are ready and share it all, all for the sake of having the ‘IT’ factor. Because a highlight reel is more of a high school Utopia then the simplicity of real life and growing up.
This musical was more than incredible songs, creative modern dance routines and the black comedy delivered effortlessly, it is a production that opens up the conversations about many topics that face teenagers today.
The beautiful part of this is 17 of the 22 cast are teenagers, for most, not to the extreme of the Heathers script are in the thick of life as a teenager 2019.
The production team lead by Sammie Robertson, who is a seasoned performer in her own right wanted to give the youth of Mackay’s theatre scene something that was relatable and could bring to light not just the talent of these performers, but in some way, start a conversation with music.
Heathers The Musical is based on the 1988 film of the same name and follows the story of Veronica Sawyer at Westerburg High School and the social hierarchy where students like Martha Dunnstock are tormented by jocks Ram Sweeny and Kurt Kelly, and the school is ruled by the Heathers, weak willed Heather McNamara, bulimic, Heather Duke and ‘mythic bitch’ Heather Chandler. Then there is JD who I like to describe as teen angst in a leather jacket.
I will leave the synopsis there as I don’t want to give too much away.
But what I want to say is how incredible the cast is and to quote JD in the show “Extreme always seems to make an impression”.
Extreme talent from the cast of teenage performers, who in between takes ironically unlike their characters are a team, fun-loving, eager to give the best performance they can. The beauty and energy of being a teenager is captured beautifully by the director.
I have never been a fan of scrunchies, but the girls playing the three Heathers were so bad-ass it almost made me want to wear one.
Not only that, The Heathers, were just that intimidating, brutal and quick witted “Grow up Heather bulimia is so 2016”. The Heathers were so in sync, it was if they were one girl, ready to take on the world.
When it comes to Veronica, the girl can sing, her voice in ‘Fight for Me’ was incredible, with so much feeling. This scene was one of my favourites, as the sweet melody of the chorus line was a haunting contrast to the dark themes of the show.
There is a line in this scene from Veronica where she says to Kurt “He is a future gas station attendant.” Which was a pivotal message that those who are cool in high school aren’t always going to be the ones that change the world.
And finally, there is JD teen angst in a leather jacket a character who had to grow up before he was ready and is so tenderly portrayed. This role is James Dean in quality and JD’s vulnerabilities are there to be seen and you can’t help but think, what will happen to him?
This show is for everyone, because we can all relate to the social jungle high school is. You will laugh, nod knowingly and be shocked.
You will have awkward flashbacks of your more intimate moments as a teenager, there could be a cringe. But there will be also moments where you will remember how courageous it is to speak up even if your voice shakes.
I will leave it here for you to decide.
My final words
“How very” ……bold, brave and beautiful this production is.