Duncan James, who played Elle’s boyfriend Warner Huntingdon III before Simon Thomas took over the role, popped up in Elle’s Harvard Presentation to whoops of applause from audience members, many of whom have seen the show multiples times. The singer, formerly of boyband Blue, also returned at the end of the show to present Smith with one of two huge bouquets of flowers.
Smith, who has been nominated as Best Actress in a Musical at the 2011 Whatsonstage.com Awards, was originally scheduled to leave the show in October 2010 but extended her run due to popular demand. Legally Blonde the Musical is shortlisted in a further six categories at the awards, which will be announced at the Whatsonstage.com Awards Concert at the West End's Prince of Wales Theatre on Sunday 20 February 2011.
There were more surprises in store for Smith at today’s matinee. In the show’s opening restaurant scene, Smith found two beers and some ready-salted Walkers waiting on the table, a reference to her most famous role on BBC sitcom Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps. Later, beautician Paulette (Denise Van Outen) declared Elle’s manicure “perfect for a summer holiday in Benidorm”, another show on the lead actress’s CV.
But Smith had some tricks up her own sleeve, bouncing into the Harvard party scene in a “onesie” adult babygrow, in place of her usual Playboy Bunny outfit. She also landed a full blown kiss on Enid, the female law student with a major crush on Elle, much to actress Suzie McAdam’s surprise.
An emotional Smith struggled at times to suppress her laughter, but by the final curtain seemed closer to tears. She will perform one last time tonight, before fellow cast-member Susan McFadden take over the role of Elle on Monday. McFadden previously played Sandy in the West-End revival of Grease after winning BBC reality show, You’re The One That I Want.
Smith is next expected in the West End in Bridget Jones, The Musical, touted for 2012.
The Whatsonstage.com Awards Concert will include performances from a range of West End stars, including nominees and nominated productions in the 2011 Whatsonstage.com Awards, which cover the best of the 2010 theatre year. Voting in this year’s awards continues until 31 January with winners announced and trophies presented at the Concert on 20 February.
Concert tickets, which range from £25-£47.50, are now on sale and can be booked by phone on 0844 482 5133 or online at www.whatsonstage.com/concert.
As with the Launch Party, at which shortlists were announced in December, the Awards Concert is held in aid of this year’s adopted charity, The Theatrical Guild, which was founded by actors to provide financial and other support to front of house and backstage staff in times of need.
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