24 February 2011 (Mat)
Pretty in pink!
Omigod! Legally Blonde is camp and preposterous but purely and simply a lot of fun! And it's also a vast improvement on the film - and MUCH funnier!
Somehow you can get away with what is basically a fairly ludicrous story if you sing and dance your way through it with boundless enthusiasm while keeping your tongue firmly planted in your cheek! And use LOTS of pink. Everywhere!
"Blonde" Elle (Nicola Brazil) is heartbroken when her boyfriend Warner Huntington III (Simon Thomas) is accepted by Harvard to read law. So she gets accepted there too by doing a bit of work but mostly, it seems, by doing a cheerleader routine! She then goes about trying to win him back, befriending older student Emmet (Alex Gaumond) and Paulette (Sorelle Marsh), a hairdresser obssessed with the Irish, along the way! Even the final case is decided after a lesson in hair care rather than precedent!
The tunes are chirpy, the lyrics genuinely funny, the terrific dance routines embrace a number of styles from a skipping rope number to spoof Riverdance and there are two very cute dogs who do what they're told, much to the delight of an audience who seemed to have never seen an obedient dog before!
Director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell makes sure it's pacy and frothy. As far as the music, by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin, is concerned, there isn't a big anthem that you remember and I couldn't sing any of the tunes now but they are all really enjoyable and fit the story well. And I can remember what I enjoyed - "Gay or European?" was a particular fave!
As the lead, Nicola Brazil was perky and had bags of vitality and warmth. Sometimes I don't think that understudies get the recognition they deserve. They are not second best, they are often just "not a name" - yet! The same goes for Lincoln Stone as Professor Callaghan who was just the right combination of suave yet harsh.
Sorelle Marsh was the "alternate" Paulette, (I don't know why they don't just say understudy to be honest - I'm sure Denise VO isn't off that much!) and she was fun and sassy. Her falling for UPS man (Chris Ellis-Stanton) was one of the highlights of the show, even if he did steal every scene he was in!
The rest of the main characters also didn't disappoint. Who couldn't have failed to fall for the slightly dishevelled, kind and caring Alex Gaumond? Simon Thomas as Warner as suitably self-centred although I would have fallen for his singing voice every time.
They were all ably suported by a well-drilled and talented ensemble who all looked as though they were having the time of their lives and believe me, this DOES make a difference!
It was also good to see a lot of young people in the audience - even if they were mostly girls! Although I did wonder why two of them spent ages before curtain up, in their seats in front of me, carefully doing each other's make-up. Oh to be that age again, when you make the effort to look good even when the lights are about to go out!
It's funny, feel good and fizzes pink like once of those pink bomb things that you put in the bath! In short, a brilliant pick me up for this day and age!
But the message at the end of "To thine own self be true" is one that couldn't fail to touch me. Elle may have originally followed the path to Harvard because of a man but she followed her heart, and what can be more truthful than that?!
Review – Follies, National Theatre
2 weeks ago