Having previously seen Legally Blonde at the Leicester Curve two years ago, I was excited to see it again as a UK Tour. Based on the 2001 film of the same name starring Reese Witherspoon, Legally Blonde is a fabulously feminist story now adapted into a musical. The plot follows Elle Woods, a Malibu ‘dumb blonde’ who follows her ex-boyfriend to Harvard Law School to win him back. After discovering she has an aptitude for law she realises and pursues her new dreams instead.
Filled with some wonderfully catchy tunes by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin and a brilliantly witty and fast-paced book by Heather Hach, it’s hard not to love this musical. Lucie Jones always gives it her all as Elle Woods. Jones clearly respects Witherspoon’s portrayal but also adds her own quirks to the character, she is not afraid to make Elle a little more down-to-earth and goofy which makes the characterisation even more special and relatable – and her vocals are also top notch. The scene stealers for me are Rita Simons as salon owner Paulette Bonafonté and Helen Petrovna as exercise queen Brooke Wyndham. Simons’ voice is powerful and she adds the perfect amount of humour to Paulette which is never overkill. Petrovna is witty and smart and I am thoroughly impressed with her rendition of ‘Whipped Into Shape’ which is delivered effortlessly.
Despite being tremendously enjoyable, there are areas which require attention. Elle’s Sorority Sisters who act as a Greek Chorus throughout the production fail to make a lasting impact and lack power and punch with their vocals and movement. In general, the choreography for the whole of the musical feels underwhelming. Legally Blonde is so much fun and there are so many brilliant numbers, but unfortunately the choreography is always a step behind. Likewise the set and costumes leave a lot to be desired. The set does the job just seems to be flimsy and not up to par. Similarly the costumes do not seem to scream “Malibu Sorority Fashionista” and the red shoes Elle wears throughout are very obviously not pink. The only moment the set really screams Legally Blonde is at the end of Act One when huge letters which descended onto the stage spelling ‘ELLE’.
Overall, however, Legally Blonde stays true to the original film and is incredibly entertaining. Jones’ heart-wrenching rendition of ‘Legally Blonde’ at the end of the show is beautiful, and the Remix that followed certainly shows off the vocal talents of Laura Harrison who plays Vivienne. The prevailing message of the musical is that with friendship, hard work, and dedication (and dogs) will lead you to defy expectations and succeed.
Get ‘What You Want’ and stay ‘Positive’, catch Legally Blonde which is ‘So Much Better’ ‘There! Right There!’ at the Marlowe Theatre until 24th March 2018. Omigod You Guys!