Fringe Box



Stage Dragon: Heathers at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre

Published on: 19 Oct, 2023
Updated on: 20 Oct, 2023

By Ferenc Hepp

Heathers, at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, this week, is an entertaining stage adaptation of the cult classic film, brought to life by the creative talents of Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe, and brilliantly directed by Andy Fickman.

The cast of Heathers. Picture by Pamela Raith.

This musical takes us on a nostalgic journey to Westerberg High in September 1989, where the unattainable Heathers reign supreme, and it expertly explores the themes of popularity, bullying, and the desire to fit in.

From left: Verity Thompson, Jenna Innes, Elise Zavou and Billie Bowman. Picture by Pamela Raith.

The Heathers are played by Verity Thompson, Elise Zavou, and Billie Bowman. These girls not only possess great vocal abilities but also gel seamlessly together, making their trio an absolute force to be reckoned with.

Alex Woodward and Morgan Jackson take on the roles of Kurt and Ram, the quintessential American football jocks, and they do so with infectious energy.

Their portrayal of these dim-witted, naive characters is comically spot-on, providing a delightful contrast to the darker themes present in the story.

One of the most touching elements of the show is the theme of bullying, part of which is poignantly portrayed through the character of Martha, played with sensitivity and emotional depth by Kingsley Morton.

Morton’s solo performance tugs at the heartstrings, highlighting the devastating consequences of bullying, and her solo number is a poignant moment.

One of the highlights of Act 2 is undoubtedly the number: My Dead Gay Son, where the two fathers of Kurt and Ram take centre stage.

Jenna Innes and Jacob Fowler. Picture by Pamela-Raith.

This combines elements of humour and a touch of the absurd, and Jay Bryce and Conor McFarlane deliver this with impeccable comic timing, leaving the audience in stitches.

However, a very special mention must go to Jenna Innes and Jacob Fowler in the lead roles of Veronica and JD, who are truly exceptional. Their chemistry is electric, and they maintain a commanding presence on the stage throughout the production.

Innes captures the innocence of Veronica, while Fowler embodies JD’s enigmatic and understated emo style.

Their voices are first class, adding an extra layer of depth to their characters and making their performances a highlight of the show.

Kingsley Morton and Jenna Innes. Picture by Pamela Raith.

The ensemble deserve praise for their exemplary support, with no weak links to be found. Their voices are outstanding, and their energy infuses the production with a vibrant spirit. Andy Fickman’s direction is seamless, and the way the cast move the scenery between scenes contributes to the fast-paced, slick production.

The choreography by Gary Lloyd adds another layer of creativity, and the music perfectly complements the style of the piece. The ensemble numbers are powerful and engaging, while the touching solos provide emotional depth to the piece.

Heathers has it all; sentiment, humour, a strong message about the perils of bullying and the quest for popularity, and most importantly, it offers a thoroughly entertaining night at the theatre.

The creative team have successfully captured the essence of the cult classic film and brought it to the stage with energy and flair.

For anyone who enjoys a mix of comedy, high school drama, and a strong moral message, Heathers is a must-see production that leaves a lasting impact. It received a well-deserved, enthusiastic standing ovation at the opening night in Guildford.

Heathers runs until Saturday, October  21, and tickets are available via or 01483 440000

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