Sometimes all you need is a bright burst of fun-filled escapism, and that’s exactly what you get with Legally Blonde The Musical, which is continuing its UK Tour. It’s based on the highly successful 2001 film, starring Reece Witherspoon, and while this musical version failed to reach the same critical acclaim when it opened on Broadway, the UK has been a little more accepting of this pink riot of fun.
Such is the popularity of the original movie, most people will already be familiar with the plot. Malibu air-head Elle Woods is left heartbroken when her boyfriend, Warner Huntington III dumps her to concentrate on his more serious ambitions of studying law at Harvard. Undeterred, Elle gets herself accepted to the same Ivy-League College with the intention of showing Warner that she’s more than cute outfits and manicured nails.
In the ultimate tale of empowerment, Elle discovers she’s worth more than the man she’s dating, and that her knowledge of fashion, and perm solution, makes her invaluable to the court room proceedings.
In the lead role, Lucie Jones sparkles with the preppy enthusiasm that cannot fail to make your heart soar. Jones definitely gives the character her own spin, with this Elle more of a vulnerable, but confident young woman with good intentions. By the time she reaches the title song, the audience are completely in awe of her performance.
The male leads take their cue from Jones, Bill Ward is the controlling Professor Callahan in neat contrast to David Barrett’s sweet and loveable Emmett Forrest, while Liam Doyle is a natural as Warner.
Perhaps the most joyous performance of the night comes from Rita Simons as Paulette Bonafonté, with her long east coast drawl and fantastic vocals, every moment she is on stage is a delight, particularly during ‘Ireland’. Of course, the human cast are completely upstaged by two adorable canines, who were less concerned with stage directions, and gave the audience much to smile about.
The set is more cartoon than Ivy League, but the costumes look the part, and when they are combined with big song and dance numbers the overall look is fabulous. Anthony Williams and Dean Street have woven in some extraordinary choreography that keeps your eyes glued to the stage, and leaves you wishing some of the routines lasted twice as long.
There is always a concern that this musical could be viewed as ‘non-PC’, the way Elle and her sorority sisters are portrayed, or ‘Gay or European’ could be construed in the wrong way. The truth is there is no malice intended whatsoever; all of the characters are over-the-top stereotypes of themselves, and at no point does Legally Blonde take itself too seriously, you shouldn’t either.
Legally Blonde The Musical is over the top and implausible, but “oh my god you guys” it’s a whole lot of fun. Non-stop energy, glitz and a feel-good score keeps this musical riding a wave of happiness, and that all important feeling of escapism.