Director: Anthony Williams
Writer: Heather Hach
Choreographer: Dean Street
Reviewer: Fraser MacDonald
Omigod, you guys! Elle Woods is everyone’s favourite blonde haired, fashion-obsessed, Chihuahua-owning cheerleader. To an outsider, she may just be the dumb golden-haired girl but after following her high school sweetheart to Harvard Law School, Elle Woods finds out that there is more that defines her than her hair.
An engaging, fun-filled theatrical extravaganza, audiences cannot help but delight in the joy and love that Legally Blonde oozes. Originally based on Amanda Brown’s book about her experiences as a blonde woman in law school, Heather Hach sets up a solid – if cheesy – plot that has its audience captivated from the very outset.
An immense, ever-expanding set bring the larger-than-life story into existence. Often busy without being cluttered, the set appears fluid as the drama itself, moving and changing with the on-stage performance without distracting. Embellished with dancing mannequins, glowing skipping ropes and stunning choreography, courtesy of Dean Street and director Anthony Williams, the whole piece is a delight for the eyes as well as the ears.
Lucie Jones is born to play protagonist Elle Woods. She gives a stunning vocal performance and has a clear grasp of comic timing throughout, but perhaps most emphatically in Serious at the outset of the show, she solidifies her character as entirely loveable. Jones never once drops the ball or misses a beat. Far from being a token name to put punters in seats, Jones deserves every second of the limelight. Similarly, Rita Simmons delivers a gloriously whacky Paulette and is ably supported by a capable ensemble – including two aww-inducing canines.
Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin have penned a decent score with a number of annoyingly good hooks. Omigod You Guys is reprised a number of times and is a delightfully funny ditty. Serious shows us early on that this musical is not only chuckle prompting but also sharp and witty. Whilst Blood in the Water and others are forgettable, they are not unpleasant to listen to.
There is a healthy dose of theatre magic about this production that makes it so likeable. In Elle Woods’ world, we can get lost in the sickly-sweetness of the world, yet there are moments of genuine tragedy that force us to sober up. Elle has her very own #MeToo moment which is as relevant today as ever before. This is dealt with well in the context and should empower as much as it entertains.
Yes, this isn’t high-brow, fancy drama – so what? Some moments have the potential to be uncomfortable – gay stereotypes are played up a little too much, showing the age of the original script, but are absolved from offence thanks to the overarching message of the story.
Legally Blonde tears the roof down in Glasgow’s King’s Theatre, leaving a normally subdued opening night audience screaming for more. Though superficially glitzy, there is real spirit to Elle Wood’s struggle and its audience leave feeling not only empowered but head-to-toe entertained.
Here we have a timely, brash and bold production. It is slick, universally appealing and riotous. The musical numbers are cleverly penned and catchy enough to be hummed on the journey home and long into the week.
This may very well be the most joyful, uplifting night at the theatre touring the country today. If entertainment had to be summed up in a musical, look no further than Legally Blonde the Musical.
Runs until 28 April 2018, then touring | Image: Contributed