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Legally Blonde (tour – Brighton, Theatre Royal)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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Maybe it’s because I’m a man, maybe it’s because the film version passed me by, or it could be that I expected so much more from a show that has been so successful but, despite the occasional funny line and cute dog, this production left me cold – although it seemed that much of the, predominantly female, audience appeared to enjoy it more.

The problem is that the show is loaded with preconditioned misconceptions – blondes are stupid, rich people are snobs, female pacifists are lesbians and gay men are all mincing queens. Add to that a score of instantly forgettable songs and a paper-thin plot line, then multiply by a cast of unbelievably stereotypical characters and the finished product is somewhat vacuous.

In order to accommodate a cast of nearly 30 on the rather restrictive stage of the Theatre Royal Brighton, particularly when they are blasting their way through Jerry Mitchell’s choreography, the scenery has been stripped back to the bare minimum. A few benches and three or four roll-on-roll-off pieces are all that is available to help conjure up the various settings.

Some individual performances are worthy of note. Niki Evans is extremely good as hairdresser Paulette. Her voice is powerful and she makes the most of the comic scenes in which she is involved. Ray Quinn, who plays the narcissistic egocentric Warner Huntington III, is equally as good – particularly in holding his American twang with no trace at all of his, very strong, Liverpudlian accent.

As the delivery man with a big package and small shorts, Lewis Griffiths receives a very good reaction from the audience, but Les Dennis in the role of the ruthless shark-like lecturer and lawyer, Professor Callahan is miscasting at its very worst. Even though Elle Faye Brookes and Emmett Iwan Lewis are the lead characters, they are also victims of the ruthless stereotyping in the piece and lack depth.

Hannah Grover looks and sounds the part with her performance as fitness guru and murder suspect, Brooke Wyndham but the stars of the show, even though their appearances are all too brief, have to be the dogs, Bruiser and Rufus. Both are trained to perfection and enlist the most genuine and heartfelt reactions throughout the whole production.

At the curtain call, and with all the cast now sporting the colour pink in some form or another, all I could think about was candy-floss. Very pink and very sugary, but when you take a close look at it you realise that there is very little substance – and too much of it can make you feel nauseous.


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