Legally Blonde at The Churchill Theatre
Legally Blonde at the Churchill Theatre
Legally Blonde is one of my all time favourite musicals. It tells of Elle Woods, a sorority girl who follows her ex boyfriend, Warner, to Harvard Law to try to win him back. Spurred on by her classmates jeers she soon realised that her best bet for fitting in is to beat them at their own game and study with the support of Emmett. When Professor Callaghan is given the job of defending exercise queen Brooke Wyndham she is awarded a prestigious internship. Whilst things may not go to plan for Elle, friendship and integrity, with a sprinkle of pink wins the day.
Lucie Jones took on the huge role of Elle Woods. After seeing (and loving her) as Maureen in Rent I was keen to see what she would do with Elle. You warmed to Lucie quickly and easily in this part and she certainty had the likability factor. She does also have a stunning voice which suited the part well although I had a gripe with the end of So Much Better where the ensemble sang the lines leading up to her big note, thus slightly taking away from the impact. However Lucie was also often surrounded by a gaggle of dancers in the form of the Delta Nus and by comparison she struggled to keep up on the execution front.
The Delta Nu’s also needed more individuality. I understood that Pilar for example was supposed to be the sassy one but in a show like Legally Blonde where nothing is left to suggestion this could have been hammered home more.
Rita Simons as Paulette was a great choice for the part. You immediately felt warmth radiating from her as she poured her heart out to Elle in her first scene. Her comedy was pitched well and ensured you were always laughing with her and rooting for her. David Barrett played Emmett, Elle’s new love interest. At times he undersung the part choosing not to go for the big notes at the end of Chip On My Shoulder. He did play opposite Lucie well with his calm interpretation bouncing off her hyper Elle nicely.
The choreography unfortunately lacked flair for me and there was little distinction in styles between each number. The cheer section in What You Want simply looked like another dance number but with Pom poms and appeared to be lacking any cheer moves. There were however some nice ideas including the human mannequins in Take It Like A Man and the UV ropes in ‘Whipped into Shape.’
The Churchill Theatre is Legally Blondes first stop on the tour and unfortunately you could tell. Things were yet to be ironed out, such as how to cover several quick changes that take place on stage behind part of the set, how to change in time off stage so you don’t miss your cue, or indeed how to keep doors on the set closed. The set wobbled and the backcloths crashed down onto the stage.
The costumes at times were not quite as spot on as they need to be in a show which focuses on appearances a great deal. Whilst it sounds overly fussy but in act 2 Elle’s shoes weren’t high or simply fabulous enough thus loosing the contrast between her and the other students, especially Vivienne. I was also puzzled at the suit choice for Emmett (double breasted) which made him look dated and older rather than ‘hot.’
The addition of a mega mix at the end was also a slightly bizarre experience, transporting me to Joseph. The show is round off so well and the numbers so catchy so a mega mix was unnecessary. It in fact took away from the warm fuzzy feeling Legally Blonde normally leaves you with.
Overall it was an enjoyable production however the polish and attention to detail were missing. Hopefully with a bit more time some things can be ironed out and the extra sparkle added once the cast have settled into their roles.
To find out more about the tour check out the tours website.
If you liked my review of Legally Blonde you may also like my review of Son of A Preacher Man and Five Guys Named Moe as well as my article about how we auditioned dogs for my own production of Legally Blonde.