Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Review: Legally Blonde: The Musical

Legally Blonde The Musical Review

For something a little bit different, I thought I'd review a musical I saw recently - Legally Blonde. Everyone's seen the 2001 film starring Reese Witherspoon (and if you haven't, where have you been?!) so you'll probably know the plot already - sorority girl Elle Woods follows her ex-boyfriend Warner to Harvard Law School to get him back after he dumped her. There are a few minor differences in the musical, but none of these differences are jarring.

First thing to say is that I personally have already seen Legally Blonde: The Musical multiple times via the MTV recording of the Broadway show on YouTube, starring Laura Bell Bundy (who became as iconic in the role as Reese Witherspoon). I get periodically obsessed with watching it, but usually skip to my favourite bits, partly because it's over two hours long, but also because (despite my love for this musical) there are one or two songs I find a bit 'meh' - although none of the songs are bad.

I've also seen it on stage in the flesh before as well, back in 2015 in Aberystwyth, starring Rebecca Stenhouse as Elle Woods. So having seen it before, I was curious to see how this version would compare. I love Lucie Jones (known from The X Factor and for being our Eurovision representative this year) and was really curious to see what her Elle Woods would be like. Sadly, Lucie was off sick on the night, but Rebecca Stenhouse (who usually plays Margot) was on hand to step in, and she did amazingly well. While it's a shame to not see Lucie perform, I found Rebecca even more impressive as Elle than she was in Aberystwyth in 2015. She has a beautiful voice and if she was nervous about any part of stepping in to play Elle, you certainly couldn't tell.

There are certain notes in certain songs where I felt a bit nervous for the actor because I know they're difficult: the final, long note in 'So Much Better' which is held for about 16 seconds, and the high note Vivian sings at the end of 'Legally Blonde Remix'. Both were incredible. Laura Harrison as Vivian nails that note spectacularly, while Rebecca made the 16 second note look easy - I just wish she had done a 'yeah!' jump at the end in the same way Elle usually does at the end of 'So Much Better'. It's an iconic song and I loved Rebecca's pure joy in the role of Elle.

Also, I have to give huge credit to Helen Petrovna, who played Brooke. In her main song, 'Whipped Into Shape', which opens Act 2, she literally sings whilst exercising with a skipping rope. Yep. I have no idea how she does it, but she does it effortlessly.

(Seeing Rebecca Stenhouse in her usual role as Margot in this trailer is strange for me!)

The only thing I was slightly underwhelmed by was the sets - some set changes could be smoother and Elle's friends have to stand in the court scene, but your enjoyment is by no means spoiled. A few other minor points are to do with the song 'Positive': Elle's friend Serena sings that 'both her (Vivian) hair and shoes are flat' but Vivian is wearing heels, and there was an awkward pause where the line would be 'you and he will reunite'. I thought this was a mistake at first but then later on it was left out again in the medley - seems like a strange line to skip?

Anywho, Rita Simons, known for playing Roxy in Eastenders, was absolutely hilarious as Paulette (my friend Milly particularly loved 'Ireland' - with its brilliant lines ('I'm not sure where this metaphor's going') and Bill Ward, known for playing Charlie in Coronation Street, makes a memorable and suitably snake-like Professor Callahan. I never knew either of these soap stars could sing so well! The hot UPS guy was definitely a scene stealer, even if does use a strange pronunciation of 'route' (like 'rowt').

And the dogs! Anyone who knows me knows I love dogs, and the two in Legally Blonde are adorable.They're not on stage that often, but when they are, both dogs receive a lot of love.

It wouldn't be fair to do a review on Legally Blonde: The Musical without mentioning how hilarious it is. I'm used to the delivery of certain lines being a certain way due to the fact I've watched the Broadway one so much, and the cast didn't disappoint - especially in 'Gay or European', which had everybody laughing their heads off. The show doesn't take itself too seriously, it's joyful and silly and especially good for otherwise dreary Mondays (I went to see it on a Monday) or for getting the weekend started with a blast on the Friday! At the end the cast donned pink graduation outfits (it was a shame they didn't throw their caps into the air actually) and performed a medley of the songs, getting everyone up on their feet clapping along.

Your cheeks will be aching from smiling after seeing Legally Blonde: it's incredibly fun and feel-good. Go see it! I guarantee you'll love it.

Legally Blonde: The Musical is touring the UK until 30 June 2018. (I'm very tempted to go see it again actually!) You can buy your tickets here

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