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Mean Girls The Musical Review




                  Mean Girls, the cult classic movie written by comedy powerhouse Tina Fey, joined the canon of teen movies that defined many of our young adulthoods (or childhoods, age depending). With its witty, quotable dialogue and iconic characters, it was destined to be turned into a musical; emulating the critically acclaimed adaptations of Heathers and Legally Blonde. It was also helped by virtue of the fact that its music was composed by Jeff Richmond, Fey’s husband and co-collaborator, who worked on international comedic smash Saturday Night Live. Ultimately, with those key ingredients, Mean Girls The Musical, is the fetch new musical that the West End has been waiting for. In its original Broadway run, Mean Girls became one of the first casualties of the pandemic. After 4 years, is making a triumphant return in the West End.

Photo by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

                  For those of you who don’t know the story, you should be ashamed of yourself. Let me educate you - Cady Heron (Charlie Burn), having grown up with field researcher parents in Africa, moves over to the US to integrate into society. There she she is befriended by edgy artist Janis (Elena Skye) and “too gay to function” Damien (Tom Xander). Under their watchful eyes, she is invited to sit at the popular table with The Plastics, the beautiful ruling trio led by omnipotent queen Regina George (Georgina Castle), closely tailed by anxious gossip Gretchen (Elèna Gyasi) and the hilariously simple Karen (Grace Mouat). Ultimately the dangerous cocktail of boys, burn books and busses cause the demise of the hierarchy, and with it, entire school’s social system.

Photo by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

                  Burn’s initially innocent Cady reaches a beautiful crescendo as an ostentatious unlikeable biatch, alongside the demise of Castle’s statuesque, godlike Regina, into a pill-popping outcast in a spinal brace. The standouts of the performance were Elena Gyasi’s Gretchen. Her self-masochistic need for approval in “What’s wrong with me?” took me from unattractively laugh-snorting to silently crying - a beautifully skilfull performance. Close behind was Tom Xander’s unrelenting, show stealing, ‘gay-isms’.

                  I am normally a huge opponent of productions that lazily rely on using large screens as their primary background, however here it was used as a seamless part of the set. It helped to bring high school gossip to life with the unfolding of the burn book and in that moment, I was convinved… this time anyway. The culmination of the staging produced a World of Burn, where Regina ascends in a Phoenician flame, to rule on high and destroy the school.

Photo by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

                  If you’re a massive fan of the movie, a large swathe of the original quotable lines remain present, much to the audiences delight; Many in the audience regularly shouted along to the most notable ones (specifically “she doesn’t even go here”). Many of the characters have received a racially-sensitive, modern upgrade, as have many of the songs from the original broadway album. Strangely, the West End musical has removed two brilliant songs, Fearless and Stop from its songlist, though isn’t poorer for it. Richmond’s girly-pop score and Benjamin’s witty lyrics, are brilliant and will leave you singing along, wishing you could be back at high school.

                  Overall, I loved Mean Girls, if you want some noughties nostalgia and sidesplitting comedy, then this musical is for you. If you want to laugh, snort, cheer and just be generally fetch, then this musical for you. How can I sell it more? Just see it… NOW!

                  Currently playing at the Savoy Theatre, with tickets available through February 2025. Available at https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/mean-girls/savoy-theatre/

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