Monday 30 June 2014

Heathers: The Musical

Anyone who's been reading my blog since I started knows that in addition to cross stitch I have other interests. My first love has always been music - especially musicals (thanks Mum for all those hours listening to vinyl recordings of Oklahoma, The King and I and The Sound of Music).

My latest acquisition is Heathers: The Musical

For those who don't know, Heathers started out as a satirical comedy from the 80's starring a very young Winona Ryder and Christian Slater (also an even younger Shannon Doherty).
The story centres around a girl named Veronica who's biggest wish is to get 'in' with the cool girls, the 'Heathers' (so named because they're all named Heather).
There's only one problem - the Heathers are all total bitches.

Veronica gets her wish, but in the course of becoming popular she gets to see just how horrible her new 'friends' are and disillusion starts. Then she meets school bad-boy J.D. - Burnt-out-psycho in the making.

Teen suicide, murder, deception and teen angst abound. Cleverly written, underplayed and surprisingly on the ball. The film is pure genius in my opinion.

So....a musical based on the film. In principal I thought 'Yep, that could work', but then I read the rather mediocre reviews and started to worry.
As always, despite liking to read reviews, I rarely put much stock in them. I always prefer to make up my own mind (something I urge anyone reading this to do!!!).

There was something that made me feel it was worth the risk: composer Laurence O'Keefe.
O'Keefe has written one of my all-time favourite musicals (Bat Boy, the Musical). But I also really enjoy a some of his other shows, most notably Legally Blonde: The Musical, La Cava and Sarah, Plain and Tall. So, I felt I was on pretty safe ground. The reviews basically said the show wasn't as good as Legally Blonde, but, given that I thought that was his weakest show I wasn't too bothered.

I received my copy on Saturday and I'm on my third listen (probably be up to about 6 by the end of the day).

Before the end of the first song (Beautiful) I knew I was in for a treat.

Instantly capturing the feel of the film, and the 80's, the opening song introduces us to the characters, life in high school and the style of the show.

"Why do they hate me?
Why don't I fight back?
Why do I act like such a creep?
Why won't he date me?
Why did I hit him?
Why do I cry myself to sleep?
Somebody hug me!
Somebody fix me!
Somebody save me!"

With track two we hit 'The Heathers' signature song Candy Store which is possibly one of the most catchy contemporary musical songs I've heard in a long time.
The songs fit each character perfectly. Beautiful melodies abound, but so does the tension and drama. Clever, funny, witty and a little dark the show really deserves to be heard.

"We're not different
We don't choose who lives or dies,
Let's be normal, see bad movies,
Sneak a beer and watch TV.
We'll bake brownies, 
or go bowling - 
Don't you want a life with me?
Can't we be seventeen?"

As with all good teen stories each character has to overcome their own issues to get where they want to do. In the case of Heathers those issues have a fuse lit underneath them. Then everyone just sits back and watches the whole thing blow the hell up! It's genius.

The musical is a joy from start to finish and easily the best show O'Keefe has written since Bat Boy. Every song is great, but some deserve a special mention:
Candy Store
Fight for Me
Dead Girl Walking

Listen, and enjoy, you won't be disappointed!

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