music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin book by Heather Hatch.

Savoy Theatre The Strand WC2R 0ET To 23 May 2010.
Mon–Sat 7.30pm. Mat Thu & Sat 2.30pm. Sun 3pm .
Runs 2hr 30min One interval.

TICKETS: 0844 871 7687.
Review: Geoff Ambler 13 January 2010.

A musical to delight the other 51%. Well, those who like it pink and fluffy.
Fresh from Broadway Legally Blonde opens as the latest in a long line of movie-adapted US imports. It boasts a recognizable, pretty face in the lead role, a former boy bandee, an ex-vet/Doctor Who and a versatile soap star. With this on-stage team what could possibly go wrong?

While it does nothing to advance the musical rom com genre, Legally Blonde gives those who have already seen Mamma Mia, Dirty Dancing and We Will Rock You on previous hen nights an indecently pink and perky alternative. And, oh my god, pink this musical certainly is! Like totally!

Legally Blonde packs few surprises to the tradition of girl-loves-boy, boy-leaves-girl, girl-goes-to-Harvard Law to win-back-boy, girl-successfully-defends suspected murderer, girl-wins-different, much nicer boy. I should add that it is, with decent regularity, really funny. Sheridan Smith’s Elle is an exuberantly charismatic, charming presence throughout and thoroughly delightful with the pop comedy. Her glee is truly infectious. Duncan James is absent enough to have little impact on the proceedings, while the other boy interest Alex Gaumond plays the dull but good hearted Emmett with aplomb. Jill Halfpenny’s downtrodden Celtic-loving hairdresser really impresses with the hilarious ‘Ireland’.

Director Jerry Mitchell has incorporated excesses of dazzling choreography, along with a surfeit of cheerleaders into this slick, tight show. Pop culture references compliment youth-focused wit and the music hits its target demographic right in the designer Chihuahua-bearing handbag. The ensemble numbers are both racy and pacy, doing little to tame an excitable audience.

Unusually, odd product-placements appear on stage, breaking the spell that live theatre creates, jerking attention back to the real world; although the rest of the audience seemed to appreciate the UPS delivery guy in his shorts.

Legally Blonde has an outstanding cast who, with some intelligent and bold creatives, bring a pretty average show to life. Casting Smith as the funny, smart, sassy Elle allows her to unleash her tremendous charisma as she proves herself more than able to lead a big show. Blonde should find a decent audience for quite a while, and their dutiful partners should find a few laughs as well.

Ellie Woods: Sheridan Smith.
Warner Huntington III: Duncan James.
Emmett Forest: Alex Gaumond.
Professor Callahan: Peter Davison.
Paulette Buonufonte: Jill Halfpenny.
Brooke Wyndham/Shandi: Aoife Mulholland.
Vivienne Kensington: Caroline Keiff.
Serena: Susan McFadden.
Margot: Amy Lennox.
Pilar: Ibinabo Jack.
Grandmaster Chad/Kyle Dewey: Chris Ellis-Stanton.
Gabby/Stenographer: Emma Bateman.
Padamzadan/Nikos: Dan Burton.
Kiki: Darren Carnall.
Judge/Saleswoman: Nadine Higgin.
Enid: Suzie McAdam.
Dad/Winthrop/Reporter: Andy Mace.
Aaron: Matthew McKenna.
Courtney/Mom/Whitney: Soreller Marsh.
Pforzheimer: Sean Mulligan.
Kate/Chutney: Roxanne Palmer.
Carlos: Sergio Priftis.
Cece/District Attorney: Tamara Wall.
Lowell: Ed White.
Bruiser: Jojo/Pongo/Bruiser.
Rufus: Ronnie/Monty.
Swings: Fabian Aloise, Francis Haugen, Jane McMurtrie, Lucy Miller, Sherrie Pennington.

Director/Choreographer: Jerry Mitchell.
Designer: David Rockwell.
Costume: Gregg Barnes.
Lighting: Kenneth Posner, Paul Miller.
Sound: Acme Sound Partners.
Musical Director: Matthew Brind.

2010-01-15 02:11:17

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