Photos – Darren Thomas
I lost count of how many times I watched the cult classic Heathers with my two best friends growing up. It was almost like a Saturday night ritual for the three amigos: snacks, bean bags, Heathers. Ah, the good ol’ days. No surprises then when QPAC announced the impending arrival of the musical I got an almost immediate response of “Oh my gosh, can we go?!”
The three amigos ride again to the launch of Heathers, adorned in our ‘how very’ Veronica outfits. There was social anxiety that we might have been the only ones who got the memo of the encouraged 80’s dress code but how happy we were to be met with a foyer filled with fluoro, kidney belts and hair styles that’s ferocious fringe back-combing even eclipsed my own. The new generation spin was having the ability to hit the ‘selfie’ booth to print your instagram photo on to a polaroid style medium. The styles and technologies may change but the vanity of youth seemingly never will.
From the get-go Heather’s is a powerhouse of profanity and insults. I never knew so many dirty words could be harmonized but such sweet voices. Enter the ‘Heathers’: like angels from heaven as “they float above all” as the ‘alpha Heather’ (Kirby Burgess) aka the “Mythic bitch” stands at the forefront and you feel like you’re trapped in the horror of a high school life less ordinary, but definitely oh so very…
The use of limited props was notably fantastic, as a set of lockers was constantly transformed in to something else with a tweak, a turn or covering of cloth. The set changes were seamless and the actors really made spectacular use of the stage, as well as an amazing ability to nail the ‘slow-mo’ fight scenes or pause on stage whilst Veronica (Jaz Flowers) addresses her “Dear Diary”. The characters were very well adapted to the stage, such as footballer bone-heads (Vincent Hooper/Kurt Kelly) who were convincing in their dumb jock role as though Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum had taken one to many hits to the head during the game. Martha (Lauren McKenna), although dumpy in costume appearance had a voice that shone through in a way that could only be as described by my guest as “something like a Disney princess”. Truly talent abounds in this young cast and the music was catchy as any pop song could be – I never knew that a situation as awkward as teen sex could be so upbeat! Not to say that the whole show is just lessons in wanting “more of a life than Liverwurst” but has also cleverly brought to the forefront issues such as slut shaming, teen suicide, homophobia and mental health issues. It is reaching out in a medium that disguises it’s confrontational nature but displays it’s darkness in a way that this generation can laugh at, but walk away having it subliminally embedded in the minds of the audience. Life is not all beer and skittles, as my mother would say.
This show is like a continuous wave of one-liners, that this lady feels too blushed to repeat in text but had such a giggle during the show that I felt myself constantly looking around to see if anyone was laughing as hard as I at the utter silliness of all the song topics.
Heathers is truly a show I wasn’t expecting to be such an amusing, confrontational, smack-talking tremendously good time. If you loved the original and don’t have at least a few solid laughs at this show, you need to ask yourself; “what’s your damage?!”
QPAC in association with Showwork Productions presents
HEATHERS THE MUSICAL
by Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe
Director Trevor Ashley
Venue: Playhouse, QPAC, Cultural Centre, South Bank, Brisbane
Dates: 9 – 17 January 2016
Bookings: qpac.com.au | 136 246