Robert gore-langton show of the week
Perished with Ken Dodd is his most ancient joke: ‘How do you get a fat girl into bed? Piece of cake...’ That now verboten gag is in the spirit of Heathers, a high-school musical that deals in fat-shaming, bullying, teen suicide, sexual assault, bulimia, bombings and school shootings.
This show is based on the cult 1988 film, a sick, brilliantly offkilter teen comedy that got away with it in the days before the Columbine massacre.
This singing version, directed by Andy Fickman, is a slightly more wholesome affair – with
Theatre Royal Haymarket, London Until Nov 24, 2hrs 30mins
music and lyrics by Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe.
Weirdly, the audience for this is made up of twentysomethings who’ve probably never heard of the film. They whoop and big-up their adored star, Carrie Hope Fletcher, a former Eponine in Les Misérables and a YouTube celeb.
Fletcher plays, winningly, Veronica (the Winona Ryder part in the film), who attempts to be somebody by trying to join the three harpies (all called Heather) who rule the school with sneering cruelty and big Eighties hair.
She finds that if you can’t join them, then why not kill them?
Her partner in revenge is JD, the too-cool-for-school drifter, played by the young Christian Slater on screen and here by the lean, charismatic Jamie Muscato. ‘I didn’t catch your name,’ says Veronica in the canteen. ‘I didn’t throw it,’ he replies, with a Jack Nicholson drawl.
Jodie Steele vamps it up as the alpha Heather, though in this version she returns from the dead.
The best song is a hymn to the two bullying, moronic football jocks. Their joint funeral is the occasion for their fathers to duet in My Dead Gay Son, a number worthy of The Book Of Mormon.