Oh My God You Guys, Legally Blonde – The Musical is totally amazing! The show is one enormous glitzy extravaganza which dazzles the senses and leaves you with a heart-warming moral at its show stopping conclusion. Audiences will no doubt be familiar with the story of a spoilt Valley Girl’s journey from the California sunshine all the way to Harvard Law School from the 2001 movie starring Reese Witherspoon. The light-hearted romantic comedy proved to be a surprise hit with cinema goers and critics alike grossing $20 million on its opening weekend and brought Witherspoon a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress. This musical version, with lyrics and music by Laurence O’Keefe, adds a further dose of exuberance to the story.
Everything appears to be going great in young Elle Woods’ life she has a handsome boyfriend Warner Huntington III, (Chris Milford) rich parents and a crowd of adoring friends. However Elle’s life is turned upside down when Warner dumps her and leaves for Harvard Law School. Warner tells her it is time for him to get “serious”. Determined to win her man back Elle passes the entrance exam and follows Warner to Harvard.
Faye Brookes who takes the lead is totally comfortable in the role of Elle Woods her performance captures all of the self-assurance, ditzy behaviour and perkiness that Reese Witherspoon brought to the role. The similarity between the two is so striking that seated in the stalls you have to scrunch your eyes closed and stare as hard as you possibly can to work out whether or not Ms Witherspoon herself has just popped over from Hollywood to join the cast.
Les Dennis is also impressive as the daunting Professor Callahan commanding a certain amount of stage presence in the role. Although Dennis isn’t exactly Michael Ball in the singing department he manages to keep up with the frenetic pace of the action and hold his own during his solo number, an ode to vicious lawyers everywhere, Blood in the Water.
From the opener Omigod You Guys, Legally Blonde – The Musical bursts onto the scene with a wild celebration of what all sun-soaked sorority girls love the most; style, shopping and shoes. From there the show rushes along at breakneck speed as one massive set piece follows another. The all-singing, all-dancing, all-skipping Whipped into Shape at the opening of Act 2 is an incredible sight as fitness queen Brooke Wyndham, (Hannah Grover,) leads a team of workout freaks in a super charged routine.
The satirical nature of Legally Blonde is one of the main reasons why the film and this musical version work so well. The story pokes fun at the superficial nature of American youth culture whilst never going as far to become cruel mockery. The show contains enough intelligent humour to interest adults but none so risqué that you can’t bring the whole family along. A certain knowingness prevails throughout all of the gags, for example, during the trial scene the entire courtroom wonders whether the ostentatious Nikos is “Gay or European” poking fun at inwards looking Americans and their narrow-mindedness.
Legally Blonde is a Wizard of Oz tale of self-discovery for the 21st Century. At the show’s conclusion Elle discovers that she had brains all along but she chose not to use them. She also finds out that there is more to life than the materialism of her California daydreaming. Being long on meticulously choreographed dance routines and short on plot no one is going to confuse Legally Blonde with Bertolt Brecht that’s for sure but the show does exactly what it sets out to do supply the audience with over two hours of entertainment and frivolous fun. For a generation of kids brought up on television talent shows, High School Musical and Glee this is the ultimate in entertainment and not to be missed.
Legally Blonde continues its run at De Montfort Hall until April 7th
For ticket information visit: http://www.demontforthall.co.uk/ or call the box office on: 0116 233 3111