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Legally Blonde (Tour - Manchester)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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We have had singing and dancing nuns, and Danny and Sandy recalling their "Summer Nights." Now finally - Legally Blonde - The Musical has followed the trend and embarked on its first UK tour. 

Writer Norman Mailer once said that “You don’t know a woman until you’ve met her in court.” An idea that protagonist Elle Woods (Faye Brookes) certainly puts to the test.

The sorority president may look nothing more than a blonde bombshell, but after splitting up with boyfriend Warner Huntington the Third (Neil Toon) she sets out to to prove that she is a woman with both style and substance - especially in front of a magistrate.

This is a show overflowing with cheesiness and Americanisation. Every last gesture is exaggerated, every girls voice becomes an excitable squeal, and any slightly interesting narrative line is transformed into an all singing/all dancing musical number. Take it as you find it, and you are almost guaranteed an enjoyable night.

Although the production does have a slightly rocky start, every song sounding like the last, the energy of the cast does soon have an infectious effect.

Flixton's local actress made good, Brookes makes a delightful principal, carrying the show with ease and shining in terms of vocals and watchability. It is encouraging to see that she has decided to put her own stamp on the role, not just replicating the credible 2001 film characterisation of Reese Witherspoon or the current West End version originated by Sheridan Smith. She also bends and snaps with ease and grace

Iwan Lewis (Emmett)  is by the far the strongest male in the production, outshining the somewhat predictable voices of Toon and Dave Willetts (Professor Callahan). It helps that his character is so likeable and that one his songs "Chip On My Shoulder" has a killer hook - but Lewis runs with this and delivers a polished turn. Likewise Claire Sweeney is a hilarious Paulette, giving her most engaging performance to date and she also manages to bring her own spin to the role.

For a touring production, it may lack big star names - but what it doesn't lack is energy and star making performances. The set design may be slightly wobbly but the show itself is not. Regional audiences do not go home short changed, that's for sure.

Even though Legally Blonde may not be the cleverest musical ever to grace the Opera House’s stage, but Omigod you guys - get a ticket as this is one v.fine feelgood show.

- Rebecca Cohen.


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