When Delta Nu sorority girl Elle Woods swaps shopping for studying in an attempt to win back her man, she and her peers soon discover that there is much more to this glamorous girl than just being ‘Legally Blonde’.
When Amanda Brown’s book was made into a film in 2001 starring Reese Witherspoon, this hopeful story of what anyone can achieve when they put their mind to it became universally cherished – especially amongst the female population. In 2007 Legally Blonde advanced to a Broadway musical before appearing in the West End in 2009; and Elle’s story continues to move audiences today.
With plenty of pink, larger than life characters and a dazzling set (designed by Jon Harris), this heart-warming musical is a spectacle of high energy dance numbers, plenty of comedy moments and the universal life lesson not to judge a book by its cover.
Taking the helm as Elle is Lucie Jones who most recently appeared on our screens when she did the fantastic job of representing the United Kingdom at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest. Her portrayal of Elle was loveable and endearing – and although there must have been the temptation to go over the top with the stereotype, Lucie resisted and kept her character firmly in the real world. Her singing voice is truly exceptional and through every moment in the show she really was a joy to watch.
Rita Simmons, best known for playing Roxy Mitchell in BBC’s EastEnders, plays the kooky hairdresser Paulette Bonafonte who befriends Elle in her time of need. Acting almost as her fairy godmother, Rita’s enigmatic portrayal of Paulette won the audience over and her musical numbers provided some real comedy gems. Fellow soap star Bill Ward, who played Charlie Stubbs in Coronation Street, is Professor Callahan which he plays as a no-nonsense, harsh tutor whose approach to the study of Law sees Elle strive to do better and prove him and the rest of her class wrong.
David Barrett is superb as Emmett Forrest, an older student who guides Elle through every aspect of Law School. His character was also truly loveable and, when he gets chance to show it, his singing voice is stunning. Another notable mention is Laura Harrison who is perfect as Elle’s rival Vivienne Kensington, especially when she hits some really high notes towards the end of the show.
Throughout the show are spectacular sprinklings of musical theatre fun. There’s some highly skilled skipping will leave you in awe and a hilarious scene asking the question ‘is the witness gay or european?’ is delivered with real quality.
Directed and choreographed by Anthony Williams and co-choreographed by Dean Street, the whole company are exceptional and keep the high octane energy flowing throughout. From the gaggle of girls that form Elle’s fashion savvy sorority crew to the male ensemble who all display some impressive dance moves, the whole company are operating at an incredibly high level, and there may just be some fleeting appearances of some furry four-legged friends.
This is a feel-good, upbeat musical that I think any generation can watch and appreciate. The pace of the show and the dynamic the cast create on stage will leave you wondering what part of the stage you should look at next. There is always something happening, and the music and script really do lend themselves to a fantastic night of entertainment at the theatre.
Legally Blonde plays Bristol Hippodrome until Saturday 7th October 2017