Dizzy, daft, uplifting Legally Blonde
OMG You Guys! Hero Brown, Muddy Stilettos founder and editor of Bucks. Ox edition is just back from a trip to see Legally Blonde at the Wycombe Swan, ahead of the production which reached Northampton last night (I went, LOVED it). If you love musicals (or soap stars – there are some big names in this version) read on, read on!
Legally Blonde, of course, started out as a movie, as most musicals do these days. Starring Reese Witherspoon, the story follows Elle Woods, a dizzy Californian blonde who thinks her boyfriend, Warner is about to propose to her on the eve of his going to Harvard Law School. Instead he dumps her and desperate to get him back, she decides to get into Harvard too and be the ‘serious’ person her ambitious boyfriend thinks he needs to further his career. By the end of the show, she’s still resolutely blonde, but no longer judged on it *sob*.
The title role is taken here by Lucie Jones (cast your mind back, she was the Eurovision UK representative earlier this year but she’s also had some acting chops since in the 20th anniversary tour of Rent) with Rita Simons (Roxy Mitchell in EastEnders) as Paulette Bonafonte, and Bill Ward (James Barton in Emmerdale and Charlie Stubbs in Coronation Street) as Professor Callahan. Actually they’re all very strong – Lucie Jones is a sweet, excitable, rather innocent Elle and can clearly hit the high notes, though actually I preferred Rita Simons voice – surprisingly smoky and strong, and less ‘squeaky musical’ if you know what I mean.
I took my 10 year old daughter and apart from a couple of long kisses (she refused to let me cover her eyes – hers were on sticks) and a ‘bend-and-snap’ comedy-sexy dance routine to hook hetero men, it stayed the safe side for kids. Iris LOVED the whole show, was absolutely buzzing on the way home in the car.
Like many touring musicals the ensemble cast work very hard, taking several roles each and all able to sing, dance and act and they were very strong, particularly Helen Petrovna as the fitness instructor that Elle and her team defend on a murder charge, – there’s a very cool skipping rope work-out number that she totally nails. Funniest moment? Also involving the ensemble cast, when Elle outs the gay pool boy and he and his boyfriend do a camp Swan Lake dance routine.
Hard to find much to criticise really, other than that the band was quite loud and at times Lucie Jones in particular struggled to be heard above it, and perhaps that Bill Ward’s hammy Professor Callahan could have had more nuance, but looking around at the audience clapping to the encores at the end, they were definitely feeling the Legal love and so was I.
The Muddy verdict: Definitely one for groups of girlies and mums and daughters – it’s a safe bet for a fun night out, plus you’re happily just around the corner from John Franklins Bar bar for a stylish drink afterwards!
‘Legally Blonde’, Royal & Derngate, from 16 – 21 Oct. Tickets from £19 – £42.50, plus concessions. Book tickets