Monday, 20 March 2017

Heathers The Musical - WAAPA (20 March 2017)

WAAPA is at its most adventurous in recent years with the choice of production in the first slot of the graduating MT class. Heathers proves to be no exception. Based on the bitingly satirical 1988 cult movie that starred Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, and Shannen Doherty, this captures the over-the-top tone perfectly while retaining the wry observations about teenage suicide, bullying, and depression with what was, at the time, almost a prescient foreshadowing of school massacres.

It's dark subject matter but the surface level presentation is infectious rock music with subversive lyrics; a riot of colour in staging, lighting, costuming, and rear screen projections; and exuberant choreography befitting the age of its characters. It's a fun show with energy and black humour to burn.

Monique Warren gives a star turn in the role made famous by Ryder. She sings superbly, looks fantastic, and I was impressed by her acting throughout. It is an eye-catching performance. Nick Errol is the square-jawed nemesis who nicely plays the arc from cool outsider to something far more deadly. His Our Love is God is a highlight.

Jenna Curran makes her mark as the Queen Biatch and ruling Heather until misfortune strikes. It's a delightfully venomous portrayal. The other two Heathers are played with swagger and style by Daisy Valerio who has a standout moment with the aching Lifeboat while Meg McKibbin assumes the red scrunchie of supreme bitchiness as the body count mounts.

Other highlights:

David Cuny's and Tom Gustard's hilarious Blue; Laura Jackson's beautiful solo Kindergarten Boyfriend; Cameron Steens' and Benjamin Colley's boisterous My Dead Gay Son; and Mackenzie Dunn cutting loose as Ms Fleming in Shine A Light.

As always, David King marshalls a fine orchestra in what is a cracking rock score and no less than Andrew Lewis himself directs this with great pace and playfulness.

A wildly entertaining start to this cohort's final year.

*originally published at

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