JC’S THEATRE SPOTLIGHT – Heathers: The Musical
A lot of buzz in Halifax about a new indy theatre company, Whale Song Theatre, who are now into their premiere show – Heathers: The Musical. It’s based on the 1988 cult film “Heathers” with Christian Slater and Wynona Rider. Which oddly, I cannot remember. I mean, this sort of dark and cynical comedy is right up my alley, but I don’t remember that movie!! It’s set at Westerberg High in Ohio, which is lorded over by three of the “hottest and cruelest girls” in the whole state, decked out in shoulder pads and scrunchies. And their names? Heather, Heather, and Heather. Thus, the title … Heathers. And the three Heathers orchestrate the humiliation of anyone who can’t live up to their standard. It’s sassy, it’s sexy, you’re gonna belly laugh. And when I say DARK … there is actually some violent death here.
This is the kind of silly fun, edgy/dark material that doesn’t often find its way to Halifax stages. So – enter Whale Song. Which is basically Laura Thornton’s baby. I’ve done a couple of shows with Laura, who produces Heathers and may be the most passionate (and one of the most knowledgeable) theatre lover/geek I’ve ever met. Laura describes Whale Song as an outlet for creative types with aspirations to bring any number of genres to the stage. She wants to bring their passions to life as well. Heathers may be crude and adult-only, but they’re already working on a family-friendly show for their next production. Unpredictable theatre? Bring it on!!
It’s obvious that Laura has wanted to stage Heathers for some time now, it shows in the details. And the fun that she and director, Emily Jewers, had with it … from brilliant casting to every campy nuance. And did I mention … DARK??? Kudos to an amazing ensemble cast, I’ve worked with a number of the great talents in the cast here, several of whom are getting their first professional credit with this production. The ensemble calls for a lot of "triple threats" and they answered the call ... the acting, singing, and dancing are all fabulous. Ian Gilmore's choreography suits the campiness and is just damn entertaining to watch. And Sarah Richardson's talent shines through as the (invisible) keyboard player/music director.
The only sad part is the short run, Heathers plays the Bus Stop Theatre on Gottingen Street just through this Sunday (two shows on Saturday and Sunday). The shows are sold out, but rush tickets may be available for each performance. Not only the most fun theatre in town this weekend, but a portion of ticket sales go to Phoenix Youth Programs for at-risk youth.