Theatre Review: Legally Blonde The Musical

STEREOTYPICALLY speaking, blondes are considered to be kooky, dizzy and a little vanity mad.
Website after website is filled with jokes about their confusion and lack of intelligence, and the concept of a “dumb blonde” has even been the topic of academic research.

Friday, 14th September 2012, 3:00 pm

Initially, it may seem that Elle Woods fits into that category perfectly — she’s pretty, she’s obsessed with pink, and her outfit choice is perhaps one of the most important decisions of her day.

Made famous by American actress Reese Wetherspoon, Miss Woods is of course the leading lady of Legally Blonde, the woman who proves that style doesn’t always have to come without substance. And once again, her story is brought to the stage in musical form, but this time round it’s bigger and better than ever.

Legally Blonde The Musical has made a triumphant return to Manchester, bringing with it all the elements that worked before, and a lot more besides.

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While this production undoubtedly made me smile in its previous visit to the Opera House, there were definite factors that were in need of improvement. The opening got off to a slow start, some of the musical numbers lacked “oomph”, and sometimes the cheesy Americanisation just didn’t lie right.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this show should still be taken at face value. The plot is hardly a Shakespearian tragedy, and the characters and songs can at times border on the ridiculous — and yet somehow it absolutely works.

It is difficult to believe that Faye Brookes played the protagonist throughout the last tour, but wonderful to see just how much she has developed and grown in the part. Her comedic timing is second to none, her voice at times breathtaking, and her facial expressions an absolute treat. There is no doubt that this young actress is a star, and it is almost guaranteed that she has a very fruitful West End, if not Broadway, career ahead of her.

Also adding to the production are new cast members Gareth Gates and Jennifer Ellison, who do a fantastic job in their roles of Warner Huntington the Third and Paulette Buonufonte. Guildford graduate Iwan Lewis is equally impressive as Elle’s love interest Emmett Forrest, and Tracey Penn is particularly engaging as the snobby Vivienne Kensington.

On the whole, the ensemble deliver an array of uplifting and feel-good numbers, namely “So Much Better”, “Bend and Snap” and “There! Right There!”, thoroughly deserving the standing ovation that they received.

A fun and frivolous production that will have you bending and snapping in no time. “Ohmigod you guys”, you have like sooo totally got to go.