#Tweetingit – 3*** This fluffy, pink musical makes its way around the UK with not a note out of place but sadly lacks the vibrancy, energy and seamlessness that you’d hope for.
And so, we are plunged into the pink and fluffy world of Elle Woods once more as Legally Blonde the Musical makes its tour around the UK.
Having not seen Legally Blonde since it came out, I could only vaguely remember the gist of the story, and really that doesn’t matter too much. It is pretty self-explanatory from the start. Sorority girl, Elle Woods, believes she is about to be proposed to by her wealthy and status-obsessed boyfriend, Warner. What actually happens is he breaks up with her, because she is more of a “Marilyn than a Jackie” (Kennedy). Heartbroken and trying to find a way to win him back (rather than tell him where to stuff his comments and find someone worthy of her) she decides she must become more serious and pursues him all the way to Harvard Law School.
Taking the lead as Elle is Lucie Jones who you will know her from X Factor and Eurovision. She certainly can hit the notes so there is no issue here. There are, however, some downsides. Elle is supposed to be somewhat kooky, a bit ditzy and a little eccentric and, for a number of reasons this just didn’t come across. I don’t know whether it was the really rather frumpy and unflattering costumes they put her in or the equally seemingly untameable wig, both making her look completely out of place next to the rest of her extremely fashionable crew or that she really doesn’t appear to be a natural dancer and therefore looked a bit clumsy, but the energy and vibrancy of Elle just didn’t come across.
There were definitely some positives. Without a doubt, the stand-out performer was Rita Simons, who played Paulette Bonafonté. Since she is so easily recognisable as Roxy Mitchell from Eastenders, I was surprised I didn’t even realise it was her – showing what a fabulous actress she is. Boy does she have some lungs on her – her vocals were incredible and he comedy timing perfect. The rest of the supporting cast were all brilliant with not a note out of place and endless energy and bounce.
Most notably on that front was the extremely dynamic skipping routine led by Helen Petrovna….while singing. I can barely skip for 30 seconds without getting tangled up so starting the second half in this manner was really rather impressive
There were also a few scenery related issues. On more than one occasions I could see an arm either waiting to move the set or holding it up while the cast also changed behind the sets, believing they couldn’t be seen. It is only a small thing but it does pull you out of the action.
This IS a fluffy, non-serious, easy to watch, fun musical and is, by no means, meant to be taken seriously but the hardcore feminists in the audience may struggle with some of the lines/scenes. The Bend and Snap scene where Elle drops items on the floor in order to get the attention of men by provocatively picking them back up may make some people. I imagine some audience members may feel a great desire throughout for Elle to finally tell the men who are treating her poorly where to go, particularly when her ex-boyfriend comes crawling back when she is “finally” serious enough for him, or for her to slap her professor when he comes on to her.
It certainly has its flaws – the incredible talent of those singing is most certainly not one of them – but the fact that this is the second time it has visited Canterbury to almost a completely sold out run proves that overall this confetti, pink and puppy filled fun show will always be a crowd pleaser.
Legally Blonde runs at the in Canterbury until 24th March and is then touring the UK.
For information https://www.legallyblondethemusical.com/
Book – Heather Hach
Music – Nell Benjamin and Laurence O’Keefe
Producer – Martin Dodd