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Legally Blonde (Plymouth - tour)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Frothy, frivolous and fun – that’s Legally Blonde The Musical currently on tour.

Great to have live music – and Peter White keeps the orchestra under tight control – but 2011 Olivier award-winners Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin’s score is not particularly memorable.

That said, the O’Keefe and Benjamin’s lyrics and Heather Hach’s book are great fun and wonderfully satiric (or at least those I heard as words were muffled and the sound balance was disappointingly not good for the most part) with the law lecturer’s “Blood In The Water” and the courtroom question – “Is He Gay or European?” - of particular note.

Playing to a full house, it would seem, by their own admission, that the older members of the audience just didn’t get it. Perhaps this is one more for the young and female. There’s lots and lots of singing and dancing, Greek chorus and slapstick but at the heart of it all is great wit and satire which was unfortunately drowned in pink and indistinct diction.

The premise is of course silly and well-worn: ditzy blonde fashionista is dumped by Havard-heading preppie who has had his fun but now wants a serious potential wife; thwarted said blonde swots hard, gains entry to the same law school and knocks the socks off the competition with her girlie insights and Vogue-based knowledge.

Translating from film to stage is always a big ask but director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell has not shied away from cinematic-style scene changes. David Rockwell’s simple but very effective sets moves the action to and fro between the Delta Nu Sorority House, Havard, beauty salon, courtroom and Elle’s apartment with visits to shops, trailer parks, shower-room, jail and more en route – all beautifully described.

Plenty of teenage girls turned out to see Pop Idol’s charming Gareth Gates (Les Miserables, Loserville, Dancing on Ice) who disappointingly had little to sing while relative newcomer Faye Brooks is excellent as bubbly soon-to-be-ex bimbo.

Backed by a solid crew, understudy Rhona McGregor (concert soprano and Westminster Abbey soloist) stepped up to be a superb Paulette and Iwan Lewis (2010 Guildford School of Acting graduate) appealing and cute as Emmett.

But stealing the show are the dogs Bruiser and Rufus unfazed by the aahs of an admiring audience.


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