Review: Legally Blonde – The Musical
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Beccy Conway gives a Five Star thumbs-up to ‘Legally Blonde – The Musical’
Mayflower Southampton November 15th 2017
The ‘Bend and Snap’ is back, this time on the theatrical stage in Legally Blonde – The Musical, the tale which sees blonde sorority president Elle Woods follow her ex-boyfriend from UCLA to Harvard Law School in order to win him back. Tired of being seen as an airhead, Elle, with the help of teaching assistant Emmett, works to prove that she is worth much more than just her looks.
Based on the novel by Amanda Brown, and the subsequent 2003 film by Robert Luketic, which starred Reese Witherspoon, Legally Blonde was first devised for the Broadway stage in 2007, receiving critical acclaim. The show opened in London’s West End in 2010 with Sheridan Smith leading the UK cast. Since 2012, Legally Blonde has toured the world being performed in English, German and French.
Lucie Jones, of X Factor and Eurovision fame, leads the cast of this tour by UK Productions, reprising the role of Elle Woods, having previously played her during a run of Legally Blonde in Leicester. Jones’ voice is nothing short of phenomenal, and her comic timing is spot on, particularly in partnership with Rita Simons’ Paulette Bonafonté. Simons, famous for playing Roxy Mitchell in BBC’s EastEnders, is also fantastic.
David Barrett returns to the role of Emmett Forrest, teaching assistant and lawyer training under Professor Callahan (Bill Ward, best known for roles on Coronation St and Emmerdale). Barrett’s extensive theatrical experience is evident in his slick performance, and Ward’s portrayal of the sleazy professor has the audience booing him delightfully during the curtain call. Supported by a stellar ensemble cast, who perform some of the most fast-paced and excitable choreography I’ve seen in a long time, fans of the book and film will not be disappointed.
Special mention goes to the canine cast members who play Elle’s Chihuahua Bruiser, and Paulette’s beloved Rufus, who cause the audience to audibly ‘ahhh’ each time they enter stage.
But, it’s the unavoidably-catchy music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin that make this musical what it is: simply joyful (people can be heard merrily humming “Oh my god, oh my god, you guys!” as we exit the auditorium).
With several of the songs reprised throughout the show there’s a pleasing circuitousness to the story. The lessons about maintaining integrity and belief in oneself are arguably what have made Legally Blonde such a great success worldwide.
Feel-good musical theatre at its very best.