fringe: heathers the musical - high school edition

adelaide fringe: heathers the musical - high school edition
Dear Diary,

My teen-angst bullshit now has a body count.

The movie Heathers has, at various times, been one of those high rotation movies that I've watched a lot, so I was interested to see how the musical version held up... and with actual teenagers no less.

The Creative Academy of Performing Arts has put together a decent production, although the Off-Broadway musical by Laurence O'Keefe and Kevin Murphy does take more than a few liberties with the original story, and from what I understand the "high school edition" waters down or removes the racier and more profanity laden sections.

It's also interesting watching this story right now in 2018 instead of 1988 given that, spoilers for a 30 year old movie, it involves a student bringing a gun to school and culminates in the attempted murder of the entire student body.

The 1988 version has much darker and drier comedy I think, but whether was the translation to the musical or the high school adaption that robs it of some of that I'm not sure... particularly in the scenes between Veronica and her clueless parents.

Speaking of Veronica, Camryn Jordans is spectacular in the role, not only does she have an amazing voice that can really belt out the big musical numbers, but she has some serious acting skills and great comic timing. And she makes it hard to look anywhere else but in her direction.

As the JD to her Veronica, Daniel Cropley is definitely handsome enough and does have the ability to project that creepy, intense energy needed for JD, but there were a few moments where Jordans acted circles around him.

I will say that part of the issues with him were issues that affected the entire cast, and that was to do with microphone levels... when your lead is being drowned out by both the music and the ensemble cast, you have a problem. Whether that was because I was sitting in the front row or not I don't know, but it was a problem through the entire show with multiple actors.

The titular Heathers (Chandler, McNamara and Duke played by Monica Horta, Courtney Sandford and Madeline Shields respectively) manage to convey the required bitchiness, although unsurprisingly Horta as the "lead Heather" (Chandler) is the stand out. Although Sandford is pretty amazing in Heather McNamara's solo number, Lifeboat.

Props for enthusiasm and energy, if not always vocal strength, go to Tom Tassone and Raife Gehren as the football stars, Ram and Kurt.

That was another consistent issue across the board actually... with the exceptions of the leads... there were at times quite variable singing performances, which is understandable from a production that's both amateur and young, but still worth mentioning. And, as a quick note to the second and third rows of the ensemble, specifically some of the guys... I see you there, singing every 10th word... yes you, and you, and you.

The staging is simple but effective, with coloured light doing a lot of the heavy lifting on an otherwise bare but split level stage. The costumes were very good overall, even if the Heathers and Veronica were a little bit of a 2018 version of 1988, with incredibly short skirts and long socks in place of the longer skirts/shorts and coloured tights of the original (again though, that may be a musical adaptation thing since all the images of other productions have the same look). But enough of the supporting cast's wardrobe channelled the appropriate vibe that it didn't bother me.

I really just want to rewatch the movie now though.

yani's rating: 3 scrunchies out of 5

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