On the final leg of its lengthy national tour, Legally Blonde is still as refreshing and upbeat as ever with great new additions to the cast the give the show an extra bump of energy, making the show ‘so much better’.
For those who haven’t seen the show (or movie), the plot follows Elle Woods chase her ex-boyfriend Warner, to Harvard Law School in the attempt to win him back. Naturally, she grabs herself a place in the University with ease. Of course, things don’t go as she planned and upon arrival discovers Warner has a new lover, Vivienne, sparking a rivalry between the two girls. To begin with, Elle struggles, but, after meeting Emmett, beings to find herself and becomes a successful law student and wins her first trial, defending exercise queen Brooke Wyndham. The plot is fun and isn’t to be taken too seriously but with morals at the heart of the story, everyone could learn a thing or two from Legally Blonde.
This time round, Gareth Gates stars as Warner Huntington the Third, the object of Elle’s affection, a role he takes to perfectly. Perhaps not entirely well known for his acting abilities, Gates shines as a perfect Warner with his strong vocals and surprisingly believable portrayal. A future in musical theatre could be on the horizon for Gareth.
No stranger to musical theatre, Jennifer Ellison is a great Paulette. Taking on Ireland, she proves why she is on the stage, a powerful rendition. One minor fault would be her diction; sometimes it was difficult to understand the lyrics in their entirety.
The real star of the show, however, is Faye Brookes as Elle Woods. Her powerhouse vocals are perfectly suited for the role, coupled with her fine comedic acting and immense stage presence; one of the finest young actresses today’s industry. It was an absolute delight and pleasure to see such a talented actress in such a demanding role play out perfectly.
As she takes us through act one with songs ‘What You Want, ‘Positive’ and act closer ‘So Much Better’, her full range of vocals are displayed with ease and ability. Her solo 'Legally Blonde' towards the end of act two really allows her to shine as the undeniable star of the show.
It’s great to see so many of the supporting roles filled with such talents. Sinead Long, Micha Richardson and Sophie Isaacs as Serena, Pilar and Margot are the ideal support for Elle during her ‘Greek chorus’ dream sequences, and of course, provide and energetic opening with ‘Omigod You Guys’.
Tracey Penn, as Vivienne, displays a terrific set of vocals as well as a patronising tone of acting that is perfect for the role. Hannah Grover displays a multitude of talents during her role of Brooke Wyndham, from skipping, dancing and singing during 'Whipped Into Shape' to her heartfelt confessions of liposuction, her acting and singing are top notch.
Lori Baker, Zak Nemorin, Graham Lappin and Gemma Baird all make up a great supporting cast.
After less than a year since it was last in Birmingham, Legally Blonde provides the New Alexandra Theatre with a full house, and what a diverse crowd it is. A show that truly is for everyone.
Legally Blonde the Musical plays at the New Alexandra Theatre Birmingham through Saturday September 1.