Music and Lyrics: Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin
Book: Heather Hach
Director: Anthony Williams
Reviewer: Simon Topping
Vibrant colours, bouncing movement and upbeat music greet the audience as we meet the peppy sisters of the Delta Nu sorority. This is the exuberant start, of the silly, sparkling entertaining and vibrant, Legally Blonde. Nearing the end of its UK tour, this current incarnation of the multi-award winning musical (which was first produced on Broadway over a decade ago) has much to offer in the way of charm, humour, vocal and musical talent and impressive dance.
As a fashion major and the most popular women on campus, Elle’s (Lucie Jones) world is flourishing until her boyfriend, Warner (Liam Doyle), breaks up with her to go to Harvard Law School, on the night Elle believes they are getting engaged. Her ex-beau is looking for someone more “serious” and Elle makes it her mission to win him back by attending Harvard herself to convince him she is the best women for the job.
From start to finish the show is a wonderful explosion of energy; the cast are terrific. Jones as Elle is the guiding light of the musical with a dynamic singing voice and fabulous comic timing, she is the glue around which all other performers bond. Rita Simons (ex-Eastender, Roxy Mitchell) equips herself amazingly well too, as Elle’s ditzy beautician friend, Paulette. Simons belts out her songs like a rock diva and takes charge of one of the funniest tunes in the show, Ireland. The third headliner, Bill Ward (ex-Coronation Street, Charlie Stubbs) as the sleazy and demanding Professor Callahan, oozes evil charm and delivers his lines with great relish and panache.
It is not only the main cast that are superb. Helen Petrovna magically performs the dizzying and complicated skipping song and dance routine, Whipped into Shape, without breaking sweat or needed to pause for breath; an amazing skilled feat. Ben Harlow as Kyle the UPS guy, makes a fantastic cameo as Paulette’s love interest. Equal parts David Hasselhoff and Ave Ventura Pet Detective, he has the crowd in fits of laughter with his portrayal.
There are a couple of dogs in the production too. Elle’s tiny dog Bruiser is a crowd pleaser as is Paulette’s bulldog, Rufus. They naturally steal every scene they are in.
The strength and quality of the musical numbers helps this to be a great night out for the whole family. Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin’s song book has catchy tunes and very funny lyrics. The orchestra lead by James McCullagh are note perfect and the whole ensemble are a joy to watch.
This is a great night out for all who love musical theatre and silliness in abundance.
Runs until 16 June 2018 | Image: Catherine Ashmore