Review: Legally Blonde – the musical. Loughborough Town Hall. Christchurch Theatre Club.

four star

Looking pretty in pink, Christchurch Theatre Club’s Legally Blonde – the musical proves to be a super energetic hit with this packed Loughborough audience.

a super energetic hit…

With the last two showings of demanding shows like Cats and Evita Christchurch Theatre Club certainly know how to chose their musical theatre offerings for maximum appeal. Their next stop is the musical Gypsy in May 2017 and in January 2018 we have Priscilla Queen of The Desert to look forward to. But right now we have Legally Blonde giving us the adventures of one not-so-dumb blonde Elle Woods (Lucy Maden) who dreams of winning her boyfriend back in her arms by getting a place alongside him in Harvard Law School via many a song and dance routine and some life lessons.

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Lucy Maden plays vibrant Elle Woods to perfection, always showing her winning personality even when deflated in matters of education and love. Woods’ acting is spot on character and her singing is exceptional. During the show she appears to be the ultimate mistress of quick changes too!  As her first boyfriend, the one she thinks she is going to get engaged to, we have a rather nice choice in James Daw as Warner Huntington III. His looks aren’t so chiselled, his torso isn’t straight out of the gym and the cut of his clothes are casual. Daw’s manner is straightforward rather than cold and so the audience are reasonably sympathetic towards him as he seems human and not a vicious go getter and (spoiler alert) dumper of Elle. Daw’s rendition of ‘Serious’ is seriously good.

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“But hey OMIGOD you guys!” Elle gets her place at Harvard and then her hard work begins. A bright, hard working, student called Emmett Forrest (Ashley Bright) befriends Elle and shows her that she has to lose her Shopping Mall attitude and get down to study if she is to properly succeed. Bright’s musical theatre pedigree shows and even though he doesn’t have any strong numbers his confidence shines through in his role.

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The show has some cracking song and dance numbers such as OMIGOD You Guys, Blood in The Water, Positive, Ireland, Serious, Chip On My Shoulder, Whipped Into Shape, Bend and Snap, There Right There, Take it Like A Man, Legally Blonde and Find My Way.

There are some exceptional performances and overall, superbly sung and choreographed pieces by the ensemble. As Pilar, Serena and Margot Aimee Chilton, Hannah Parker and Laura Barker bring great energy and musical pizzazz to this production. Julie Easter’s vibrant and very funny performance as lovelorn hairdresser Paulette Buonufonte is just heart warmingly brilliant. Lucy Gamble as Vivienne Kensington gives us a confident portrayal of a woman who slowly begins to see the value in Elle’s personality and guts.

Actor Guy Benson has been acting for over thirty years and was once a male stripper in The Full Monty (2008). This time he is sharp suited and portrays a very confident professor of US law – a certain Mr Callahan. The character has a tough guy reputation in the story and Benson demonstrates this subtly in his tone and behaviour.

One of the best performances is from a man who has very little dialogue but shows off his winning style with his body and deep voice. As soon as hot postman Kyle B. O’Boyle (Aaron Murray) saunters sexily along the front of the stage in his tight shorts and into Paulette’s life we kinda guess she may well have found the man of her (and most of the females in the audience- and some males) dreams. ‘If only he were of Irish descent’ wishes Paulette.

This is a big cast of mainly female performers with a smaller core of guys. Craig Butterworth and Jack Hardy as Carlos and Nikos are hilarious and camp it up for all they are worth.  All the talented cast put in 100% and local dogs play Bruiser (Chilli) and Lola (Lola). The dogs don’t sing and dance but they do cute doggy acting very very well.

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Christchurch Theatre Club’ s director and choreographer for Legally Blonde – the musical is Michael Gamble with Vicki Hing as Musical Director. The orchestra is very professional in their delivery. The scene changes are well executed giving the feel a slick professional impression. The show has music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe & Nell Benjamin and the book is by Heather Hach.

Highly recommended.

Reviewer: Phil Lowe

Legally Blonde – the musical plays at Loughborough Town Hall 23 – 28 Jan 2017.

 

 

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