‘Heathers: The Musical’ review – Carrie Hope Fletcher storms the stage in this wild play full of big fun

Wacky, edgy and off-the-scale, actress and YouTuber Carrie Hope Fletcher leads a stellar cast in a production bursting with energy and enthusiasm – ★★★★★

A zany tale about the adventures at Westerberg High has attracted a whole new cult following 30 years after the movie was first released. As costumed audience members shout and cheer across multiple musical numbers, Fletcher is right to say that the show feels more like a rock concert than a musical.

Carrie Hope Fletcher (pictured) is sensational in this wacky musical based on the popular 80s film. Photo: Pamela Raith.

With bold, vibrant fanfare, songs such as Beautiful and Dead Girl Walking radiate confidence and passion as Fletcher demonstrates her powerful vocal ability as lead girl, Veronica Sawyer.

Swap these for the emotional Seventeen and we not only see a seamless switch to the more poignant side to the musical, but also the musician’s natural chemistry with Jamie Muscato’s sharp and menacing JD.

Such a chemistry extends out to the wider cast as the Heathers (Jodie Steele, Sophie Isaacs and T’Shan Willimans as Chandler, McNamara and Duke respectively) bounce off each other for brilliant comedic effect. Double-act Chris Chung and Dominic Anderson deliver hilarious performances as troublemakers Kurt and Ram and Andy Fickman’s imaginative direction quite literally shines in the magical Shine A Light.

One other notable performance is that of Jenny O’Leary, who plays the charming and loveable Martha Dunnstock. Verbally abused and bullied for most of the story, Martha’s number Kindergarten Boyfriend is perfectly executed in a way which is equally moving and heart-wrenching in nature.

With outstanding deliveries from the whole cast, it’s a production which shows off the collective’s familial chemistry, whilst also allowing each actor’s individual talents to shine.

Heathers: The Musical is a musical thrill ride which packs a punch. So much so that when the curtain falls, you’ll want to do it all over again.

Heathers: The Musical is now playing at the Theatre Royal Haymarket until 24 November.

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Review: ‘All That She Can See’ by Carrie Hope Fletcher

Note: This review contains spoilers.

As a devout fan of Disney, music and the theatre, it’s no surprise that YouTuber and actress Carrie Hope Fletcher’s genre of choice is magic realism. After the phenomenal success of her previous novel, On the Other Side, Fletcher writes with increased confidence and enthusiasm in her second work of fiction, All That She Can See. Set in Plymouth, the plot focusses on the loveable Cherry Redgrave and a very special gift she possesses…

'All That She Can See' book

In their review of the book, the Mail on Sunday said: “Think Chocolat with a heaped tablespoon of Bake Off “, and it’s a fair comparison to make. Add elements of Nanny McPheeThe Golden Compass and Divergent to the mix (pun not intended) and you start to get a better idea of the imaginative story at the heart of this novel. There’s something for everyone.

As mentioned previously, All That She Can See centres on a tight-knit community in Plymouth and a positive tone is set (all of the character’s eagerness to agree with one another at first was something which I was a bit sceptical of to start with), that is, before the main source of conflict is introduced – Mr Chase Masters.

Naturally, any reader would be quick to assume that Cherry and Chase would go on to develop a romantic relationship, as with most books in this genre. Whilst that is the case, the important thing is that a valid reason is given, and it is not simply a cliché. What makes it works is that the bond taps into the bigger picture Fletcher was trying to paint with the novel. Underneath the metaphors for human feelings, there were a few comments about happiness and emotions which Carrie was trying to make. Consider it a fictional extension of sorts to All I Know Now, as it were.

However, it isn’t long before the bubbly Nanny McPhee style of the story fades away into darker territory akin to that of Divergent. Unlike On the Other Side, there were some shocking, haunting scenes in this book, which only shows development on Carrie’s part as a Sunday Times bestselling author.

It pays off, too, being one of those books which can invoke specific images in one’s head when reading (sadly a select few can do that for me these days). It was halfway through the book, when Cherry’s dilemma got worse, that I truly got engrossed in the story. Even now, I remember certain parts of the book having me shout out loud in shock. At some points in the novel, I was so sure of what was going to happen, but Fletcher continued to surprise and intrigue with exciting twists and turns. What’s even better is that it ends in a way which suggests there’s more to come, and a trilogy of books from Carrie Hope Fletcher would be a very exciting thing indeed.

Disclaimer: A huge thank you to the wonderful team at Little Brown for sending me an advance readers’ copy of All That She Can See! Whilst I did receive this for free, all opinions stated in the above review are honest and my own.

Review: ‘On the Other Side’ by Carrie Hope Fletcher

After months of reading nothing but non-fiction books or academic textbooks, On the Other Side was the book which restarted my imagination. Creative, magical and uplifting, Carrie’s first fiction book is a tale of romance which fans of Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven will love.


Carrie Hope Fletcher has already made a huge impact in the book industry. All I Know Now – her non-fiction book sharing her advice on romance, friendship and more – became a Sunday Times bestseller when it was published last year. Much like how All I Know Now built upon Carrie’s advice blog on Tumblr, On the Other Side also contains some references to her online persona – which will no doubt delight fans of her YouTube channel, ItsWayPastMyBedtime.

Imagination when reading a good book is magic in itself, and something I only experience when reading certain works of fiction. However, that’s not to say that I have no imagination altogether – far from it. Instead, this rare phenomenon only comes with a novel complete with a gripping narrative and believable characters. I mean, after reading On the Other Side, how could you not love Evie Snow?

Admittedly. I’ve never really been a fan of romance novels, but this is more than just a simple love story. In amongst the creative plot lies some important life lessons. Not only is On the Other Side a heart-warming and beautiful novel, but it ends on a high note and with a message every reader can take away.

Rating: 4/5

Do you watch Carrie Hope Fletcher’s YouTube videos? Have you read All I Know Now? Comment below! 

Liam

I would like to thank Little Brown for sending me an Advanced Reader’s Copy (ARC) of this book – I really appreciate it. Whilst I was sent this ARC for free, the opinions within this post are my own and this post is not sponsored by anyone.

Musical Discovery: Jess Glynne, Example and Twenty-One Pilots!

Last week saw me discover some great new music. Through tweets by BBC Radio 1 and V Festival, I stumbled across the latest track by Jess Glynne. Then, on YouTube, I noticed that Example has a new song out too. Lastly, when YouTuber Carrie Hope Fletcher uploaded a cover of House of Gold, I was able to find the original version by Twenty-One Pilots.

So without further ado, here are this week’s three Musical Discoveries!

Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself by Jess Glynne

The latest release by Jess Glynne, Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself, follows a string of successful chart hits. These include collaborations with Clean Bandit (Rather Be and Real Love) as well as tracks such as Right Here, My Love and the recent release, Hold My Hand.

With the track containing vibrant piano chords and a soulful final verse, fans of Glynne would be right that the track has a colourful and emotive feel similar to that of Hold My Hand, and the style of Clean Bandit.

Overall, it’s another great track from the singer. The track is well developed, allowing Jess to show off her vocal talents, and then, the song ends well with a laid-back version of the song’s recognisable chorus. It looks set to be a number one hit when it is released in August.

On a separate note, the music video fits well with the track. As a drummer myself, it was fair to say that it was fun to watch!

Whisky Story by Example

After his 2014 album, Live Life Living, musician Example (real name Elliot Gleave) is back with a new track called Whisky Story, which contains a new style of music for the artist known for floor-fillers.

Beginning with soulful vocals which don’t sound like Example’s, the track’s opening is likely to surprise fans expectant of a powerful and driving dance beat which appears in tracks such as Won’t Go Quietly, Kickstarts and Kids Again.

However, Whisky Story contains a clever balance of rapping and singing in its verses to appeal to fans. Both vocal styles seem to fit in perfectly with the bass guitar riff and drum beat. Then the verses slowly, but effectively, fade into the track’s chorus.

But whilst the chorus is catchy and memorable, the latest track from Example’s upcoming album is disappointing, with the opportunity to dance to a deep bass groove only becoming available towards the end of the song.

House of Gold by Twenty-One Pilots

In the past, I’ve only ever listened to country tracks when I stumbled across Train’s Drive By and Hey Soul Sister a few years ago. Now, I was able to find a track with similar, upbeat ukulele melodies – House of Gold by Twenty-One Pilots.

Straight away the song begins with a colourful ukulele introduction alongside the song’s simplistic but catchy chorus. Shortly afterwards, a second ukulele is added which makes the chorus just as memorable.

Another part of the song which also makes it memorable is the melody which flows through the song throughout. As well as this, the track is cleverly developed as the song progresses. In particular, a driving drum beat is introduced early on in the track, before turning into an off-beat rhythm towards the end.

As for the ending itself, the rather laid-back conclusion to the song is fitting. However, that is not to say that the song does not have some issues or surprises. The screaming of the lyrics “become someone” is a bit unexpected for a country song. Lastly, the ending melody also feels unusual, with the final note feeling unsatisfactory in my opinion.

What do you think of these three tracks? Which is your favourite? Comment below!

Liam

Review: All I Know Now by Carrie Hope Fletcher

The teenage years have always been known for their unpredictability. We are expected to know what we want to do for a career as well as pass the exams that ‘will determine the rest of your life’. Then you’ve got the rush of hormones, peer pressure and possible romance.

Thankfully, YouTuber and West-End performer Carrie Hope Fletcher is here to offer a helping hand through the bumpy ride of teenage life with her debut book, All I Know Now.

With anecdotes from Carrie along the way, as well as occasional moments of hindsight, All I Know Now’s semi-autobiographical tone gives the book a more personal feel – something many advice books today struggle to achieve.

Additionally, Carrie is quick to predict the trends of teenage life and organise it into simple categories or ‘acts’ such as: dreams, relationships and making friends. As well as this, other sections of the book keep to the theatrical theme. For instance, the ‘props’ section contains a list of useful contacts for young people, whilst the introductory prologue begins with the book’s personal tone. Let’s not forget, of course, the book’s vibrant yellow and purple colour scheme, which makes the book even more welcoming and vibrant.

Another great part of this book is that it has the ability to be a great book for future reference. Also, when reading it in full, I wanted to keep reading more! It wasn’t long before I had finished the book and felt like I had learned a lot of useful information and tips along the way.

Understandably, a few people out there will roll their eyes at the fact that a large amount of YouTubers are now publishing books of their own. However, with Carrie having such a strong desire to write a book of her own and to help other people, this book is definitely an exception.

Written in a style that is friendly with bursts of wit and humour, Carrie Hope Fletcher’s All I Know Now is the perfect companion to the roller-coaster of emotions that is teenage life.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Liam

Many thanks to the kind people at Little Brown for sending me a copy of this book! All I Know Now is available to buy now on Amazon, Waterstones and iBooks.