Legally Blonde review
The tour of the Olivier Award-winning musical Legally Blonde, starring Eastenders’ Rita Simons and X Factor’s Lucie Jones, comes to the New Wimbledon Theatre for one week only.
It’s easy to see how Legally Blonde could be adapted to smash-hit musical. The original 2008 film, starring Reese Witherspoon, combines an uplifting mix of humour, drama and heart. The musical tells the story of Elle Woods (Lucie Jones), a sorority girl whose plans for the future come crashing down around her when boyfriend Warner (Liam Doyle) breaks up with her to attend Harvard Law School. In a desperate bid to win Warner back, Elle defies the odds to also attend Harvard Law and, once there, win a prestigious internship.
The music is the real winner in Legally Blonde. Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin’s soundtrack is utterly infectious, guaranteeing its presence inside one’s head long after the final curtain call. It’s a fun-filled, high-energy pop extravaganza, which perfectly captures the tone of the original film with instant classics like “What You Want” and “So Much Better”.
Lucie Jones’s Elle is every bit the fiercely loyal and intelligent woman that Witherspoon embodied in the film, with perhaps a bit more spunk and playfulness about her. Alongside Jones, David Barrett is effortlessly endearing from the start as Elle’s good-natured and geeky love interest Emmett.
The real stand out is Rita Simons as Paulette, who has command of a couple of big numbers and many of the show’s comical moments. Simons makes every moment she’s on stage count, offering an impressive vocal performance and comedy chops to boot. On press night, she even made the most of an uncooperative animal performer, to rapturous applause.
Legally Blonde is a great film, but the musical adds its own flair – remaining faithful to the story while majorly amplifying some moments for theatrical effect. Anything that can be enhanced on stage is enhanced on stage with the aid of flashy musical numbers, colourful costumes, snappy choreography and far too much dry ice. Sometimes the show is utterly brilliant, but sometimes it crosses the line into over-the-top. Did we really need to spend so much time singing about Ireland? How many laughs can we harvest over the sexy UPS guy? Nevertheless, I can’t deny the audience’s general reaction was that of sheer delight for some of the – quirkier – additions, even if I was left scratching my head.
Legally Blonde is a great, if ostentatious, show. The songs are catchy and serve to really highlight a winning story, one that film and musical theatre fans alike are highly likely to enjoy.
Legally Blonde runs at the New Wimbledon Theatre until June 23rd
Review: 4 Stars out of 5