Veronica Sawyer wins hearts in Heathers The Musical

Fear not fellow musical theatre fans, if you haven’t seen the original film (like me) I can assure you that you will still enjoy every single second of this '80s blast from the past.

Image: Pamela Raith Photography

My only ever encounter with Heathers The Musical was a few years ago when I used to religiously watch the CW show, Riverdale. As per tradition, each season has a musical episode and Heathers made the cut for the season three singing spectacular. 

I don’t remember particularly enjoying the series’ take on the classic story, but it thankfully didn’t leave a sour taste in my mouth for when I would finally get to see the acclaimed musical on stage in my most favourite place, The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin.

Based on the iconic 1989 film of the same name, Heathers The Musical follows the story of Veronica Sawyer (breathtakingly played by Jenna Innes), who “is just another nobody dreaming of a better day”.

“But when she joins the beautiful and impossibly cruel Heathers and her dreams of popularity may finally come true, mysterious teen rebel JD (played by the mega-talented Jacob Fowler) teaches her that it might kill to be a nobody, but it is murder being a somebody,” the synopsis reads.

Now, in addition to my singular experience with the show (via Riverdale), I have also never seen the original film… I know, I know… But, I figured since I hadn’t seen the film before, why not purposely avoid reading the plot for the show too? This is something I would highly recommend because the number of gasps that came out of my mouth as this Mean-Girls-gone-wrong tale unfolded was truly a sight to be seen. 

An production image from Heathers The Musical by Pamela Raith Photography.

The phrase that came to mind as I was watching this dark and twisty musical was the famous quote “I don’t believe in the glorification of murder but I do believe in the empowerment of women” by Lady Gaga.

Veronica Sawyer is the entire embodiment of a girlboss. Whilst she may start off as someone who has no choice but to succumb to the societal expectations surrounding her, she ultimately puts herself first to make things right.

Towards the end of the show, she belts out a tune called ‘I Say No’ in response to her bitter boyfriend’s plea to win her back. He has lied to her multiple times, ultimately causing the deaths of three of her classmates, and she has decided that she’s had enough. 

She compares him to a nasty habit that she cannot seem to kick: “You are a drug, you are a poison pill, I’ve got to kick this habit now, or else I never will, I loved the rush when you would hold me close, but you will not be satisfied, until I overdose”. And with that, she leaves JD for good.

An production image from Heathers The Musical by Pamela Raith Photography.

In many ways, JD can also be considered as someone who was holding her back from her true potential. The Heathers were already a bad influence on her and whilst JD offered her a safe haven and an escape, he also mirrors what the Heathers were doing in holding her in complete captivity from herself.

What Veronica ultimately achieves in this show is the acceptance she has always craved. The Heathers are no more, Martha is no longer bullied and the rest of her classmates also decide to part ways with their fear of rejection. She is a hero and has become one of my most favourite musical theatre characters of all time. I’m so glad I finally got to meet her!

Heathers The Musical is running until May 6 and I promise you, it is a worthy addition to your musical theatre collection. With a pitch-perfect cast, catchy soundtrack and those iconic costumes, it is a guaranteed brilliant night out.

For more information about the show and where to get tickets, click here

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