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Legally Blonde - even better than the movie!
Legally Blonde the Musical
Member Name: Wickedinrock
Legally Blonde the Musical
Date: 26/10/10, updated on 27/11/10 (63 review reads)
Advantages: Great cast, catchy songs, fun fun fun!
Disadvantages: Only suitable for those who love pink!
OK mega update on this review... in fact I've completely redone it!
'Oh my God you guys!' I've seen Legally Blonde the musical twice now and have already booked to see it again! Most people are already familiar with the 2001 movie starring Reese Witherspoon and while the theatre production is true to the story, the music adds another dimension to the feel good film.
=== The story ===
Elle Woods, a Fashion major and pink-loving sorority girl is dumped by her rich, Harvard accepted boyfriend for not being 'serious' enough on the night she thinks he is going to propose. Heartbroken Elle decides to apply to Harvard and win back her man (with the help of her Greek Chorus!). At first ridiculed by her class mates, Elle decides to 'get serious' and emerges herself into her law course, realising that California blondes who love pink and clothes can also become successful lawyers.
=== The cast ===
Wow, the cast! One of the big draws of the show is the celebrity names. Sheridan Smith (Two Pints of Lager) is in the lead role as Elle and does a wonderful job of capturing the fun-loving side of the character whilst keeping the character vulnerable and really likeable. Sheridan has been nominated for tonnes of 'Best Actress in a Musical' awards in the past couple of years for the role including the Evening Standard Awards, Broadway Awards and went on to win the Variety Club award and Cosmo Award.
I have now seen Duncan James and Richard Fleeshman in the role of Warner who were both good, but nothing special enough for a decent mention. The role isn't a particular exciting, funny or endearing one but they both did a good job of looking smug and rich. Jill Halfpenny, however, is completely memorable as hairdresser Paulette who befriends Elle in Boston. She has great comic timing and I can't see how Denise Van Outen will live up to her in the role now that she has taken it over. I might come back and update this review once I've seen her! Susan McFadden (sister of Westlife's Brian) plays Serena, Elle's sorority friend and member of the Greek Chorus. She has an excellent voice and one of the more realistic American accents. Caroline Keiff was just wonderful in the role of Vivienne, fresh from playing Nessa Rose in Wicked, however she has now been replaced by Siobhan Dillon (from Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria'). Brooke is played by Aoife Mullholland (from the same ALW show!) - a client who Elle's Professor Callaghan is hired to defend when she is accused of murdering her husband.
=== The songs ===
Sheridan, as Elle, sings in 16 of the 18 songs in the show which, for someone who wasn't previously known for her singing, is quite impressive. Although her American accent is not the best I've heard, she has a lovely voice and a really vulnerable quality to it. The fact that they have produced an Original London Cast recording of the songs with her singing most of the songs on the CD shows how talented she is.
The show kicks off with 'Omigod You Guys' which is sung by Elle and her sorority sisters as she prepares for her date where she thinks her boyfriend Warner will propose to her. It's an over the top feel good song which will have you singing along by the end and even as you leave the theatre! Other notable songs include Ireland which is sung by Paulette. She talks about her love of the country Ireland, the wonderful men who live there and the leprechauns! It has the audience in hysterics by the end and is a real highlight. Whipped Into Shape is sung by Brooke who sings while she and other prison inmates dance with skipping ropes. (For anyone who has read my other reviews, this is where my desire to skip came from!) It's a fantastic scene and shows what a talented cast they are. It is perfectly timed and wonderfully choreographed even though the song is just average! Legally Blonde, sung by Elle, is the signature song with a remix of it also sung later on. It's a ballad which is quite a difference from the up-beat fun songs which make up the bulk of the soundtrack. Sheridan does a great job of the song and it's really quite emotional! I couldn't finish this section without giving a mention to the fantastic song 'Gay or European' which is sung by the majority of the cast in the courtroom while the pool boy is giving evidence in Brooke's trial. I don't want to ruin it for anyone, but it's unforgettable and oh so camp!
=== Why it's so good ===
Sheridan is just a fantastic Elle, but the whole cast really make it. I've seen a couple of the understudies and they really are as good as the leads. I know there is already a campaign to get Amy Lennox (understudy Elle) the lead once Sheridan leaves in January. The songs are just wonderful as previously mentioned, leaving the audience in fits of laughter and still singing them when they leave the theatre. The mailman's arrival has all the ladies whistling and the bend and snap scene is just as good as it is in the movie. Bruiser Woods, Elle's dog, is one of the stars of the show. They alternate between a couple of little Chihuahuas and they are so well behaved and get a fantastic reception from the audience. Sheridan Smith works so well with the dogs and really replicates the relationship in the film version.
=== The Venue ===
Legally Blonde is showing at The Savoy Theatre on the Strand, which is within easy walking distance of Embankment, Covent Garden and Leicester Square tube stations and lots of restaurants and bars. It's very central in London but has the added benefit of being slightly out of the way of many other theatres meaning that the restaurants in the area aren't as busy beforehand. It's a great location but the theatre itself is not particularly attractive from the outside. It is set back from the road and is often covered in scaffolding. I went to see Carousel over two years ago at the Savoy and assumed the scaffolding was a work in progress but years on it hasn't changed!
The interior isn't one of the best theatres I've seen but is very functional with a decent lay out where most seats have a good view of the stage. The set is good and the bars and toilets don't get as busy as many other theatres in London.
=== Tickets and prices ===
Tickets for Legally Blonde: The Musical are currently on sale until October 2011. Premium tickets can sell for extortionate prices but it's possible to find tickets for a really reasonable price on lastminute.com and various other websites. Last time I went I found tickets for £15 (obviously you get what you pay for - they were towards the back) and the first time we paid £40 for really good seats in the stalls. At the moment it's quite expensive heading up to Christmas but tickets vary in price between £26 - £86. Lastminute.com currently have a theatre and dinner deal for £30 at the moment which appears to the be the best value offer.
=== Overall ===
Overall, I think it's one of the best shows in London with one of the best casts. I would recommend it to anyone but mainly the target group of young females who enjoyed the movie. There are always lots of large groups of teenagers wearing pink and hen parties who always seem to have a good time! I know that this is one of the shows that people go back to see over and over again - I think I'm one of them!
Summary: A great night out - 10/10
Summary: A great night out - 10/10