Book: Heather Hach
Music and Lyrics: Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin
Director: Anthony Williams
Reviewer: Matthew Jackson
Legally Blonde the Musical started its latest tour of the UK last year. Since the tour started, there has been a lot of negative attention in the press regarding the abuse of power by men, which adds an extra punch to this already quirky, fun and multi-layered production.
Director Anthony Williams has slowed the pace of the script to great effect. While this may be a musical based on a film, the script by Heather Hach is fully explored and delivered in such a way that ensures the development of motives, resulting in the creation of believable characters.
Lucie Jones leads a cast of recognisable faces. Jones not only has an incredible voice but her background in musical theatre cements her in the role as a flawless Elle. In many ways the role is perfect for her. Her chemistry with co-star David Barrett, who plays her unlikely love interest Emmitt is truly believable.
Rita Simons who plays Paulette, a hairdresser who acts as a mentor and supports Elle through her times of self-doubt. Laura Harrison as Vivienne Kensington is another in the line up of strong female characters. Simons has a mature vocal ability that echoes throughout the auditorium; most noticeable as she sings of her beloved Ireland.
Bill Ward is a slimy and conniving Professor Callaghan who is instantly dislikeable as the character we love to hate. Ward uses rhythm and tone in his voice to create a character who (rightfully) doesn’t receive any sympathy upon meeting his downfall.
Jon Harris, Jason Bishop and David Shields create a playful set which is reminiscent of both a toy theatre and a Greek Temple; complete with a Giant EW at the centre of the proscenium, the initials of our protagonist Elle Woods. It seems to be the perfect setting for a fun musical with echoes of a Greek tragedy. The set also allows for smooth transitions between scenes as scene changes are masked by backdrops.
The score completes this slick production. From powerful ballads to pop crowd pleasers and romantic duets, they all blend seamlessly with the plot to create the high energy heartwarming story of Elle finding a way to be true to herself.
2018 is already known as the year of the women. With this show being full of relevant themes, alongside a cast of skilled actresses, in many ways Legally Blonde is a perfect fit for theatres around the country. Above everything though, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable night out that will leave you laughing, clapping and perhaps even reaching for the tissues.
Runs until 17th March 2018 | Image: Contributed