Legally Blonde- Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

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This story is now in its third incarnation. First came the book by Amanda Brown, daughter of a lawyer, and Stanford Law student herself. Brown drew upon her own experiences for inspiration. The 2001 film starring Reese Witherpsoon , adapted for the screen from the book by Heather Hach, was the breakthrough to a mass audience, resulting in this stage show premiering on Broadway in 2007.

It is light, it is frothy, it is pink. On stage, dogs, “Bruiser” and “Rufus” provide the “aah” factor, a trial provides the drama, and lots of up -beat song and dance numbers set the tempo. The set, designed by Mathew Wright, is a 21st century/1950’s mash up. The songs are a long way off being standards, but Musical Director James McCullagh drives a talented, vibrant, band. A functional set is skilfully enhanced by some excellent lighting, and Elizabeth Dennis’s vibrant costumes , which are predominantly – pink. . The first half is shorter than the second. Oddly, the opening “OMG You Guys” is staged with static bikes, and it does feel like a while before everything gets going. But once it does, the fun starts.

 

Lucie Jones stars as Elle Woods, the girl determined to prove that blondes can have fun and brains. X Factor brought her to prominence and she can certainly sing, and carry the acting part. Set piece numbers abound, choreographed by Anthony Williams and Dean Street.

 

 

The highlight of the dance numbers is undoubtedly ‘Whipped into Shape’ featuring Helen Petrovna and Brooke Wyndham, with fluorescent skipping ropes which kick starts the second half in dynamic style .

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Bill Ward , of Coronation Street fame, is well cast as Professor Callaghan, his unwanted stolen kiss with Elle, abusing his relationship and position of trust, was serendipitously contemporaneous . Rita Simons, another soap star, this time from East Enders, as beautician Paulette, steals the comedy honours as the trashy tart with a heart. She can sing too. Her vocal for “Ireland” was superb, the Irish dancing sequence joyful. The ladies in the audience are spoilt for (pink) eye candy. Hunky delivery man Ben Harlow as Kyle? Ugly duckling to swan David Barrett as love interest Emmett? Or Liam Doyle as bounder Warner Huntingdon? Everyone seemed to have their favourite.

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The plot founders a bit when it tries to deliver some uncertain messages, the gay and lesbian themes seem awkwardly handled- then picks up when the song and dance returns, never more so than during, “ There Right There” . But nothing here is meant to be taken too seriously, the story, and staging are fantasy, and pink. Lucie Jones justifies her star billing carrying the part of Elle with warmth, energy, a fine voice, and plenty of pink shoes and dresses.

The audience overwhelmingly comprised young women who stomped and cheered from the start, and danced in the aisles to an encore medley of the show’s greatest hits. It is cheesy, it is awash with kitsch, but the target market loved it. At two and three quarter hours, no-one will leave the theatre feeling short-changed.” Legally Blonde” runs till Saturday 12th and continues on tour.

Gary Longden

 

 

 

 

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