Festival Theatre, Edinburgh – until 2 December 2017
Guest reviewer: Sarah Moyes
“OMG You Guys!” The Festival Theatre is awash with pink as the hilarious Legally Blonde arrives in Edinburgh at the end of the first leg of its extensive UK tour. Originally opening on Broadway in 2007, Legally Blonde The Musical is based on the popular 2001 film starring Reese Witherspoon. It had an amateur production from the Bohemians at the King’s last year.
It’s the story of the popular sorority sister Elle Woods from California who turns her passion for anything pink and fluffy into a passion for studying in a bid to win back her ex-boyfriend. The show follows Elle’s journey to the prestigious Harvard Law School as proves to everyone that she deserves to be there as much as everyone else.
Opener, Ohmigood You Guys, is a huge slice of cheesy musical pop that sets the fun tone for the whole show. It’s here we’re introduced to Elle and her sorority girls, the Delta Neu, as they prepare to celebrate her engagement to Warner Huntington III. However instead of proposing, he tells Elle he needs a more serious girlfriend which starts her journey to becoming the serious law student she thinks Warner wants to be with.
Lucie Jones, who represented the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest earlier this year, really shines in the role of Elle Woods. Like a few X Factor alumni before her, she’s made a smooth transition into theatre as if she was always meant to be there. It’s a demanding role as she’s hardly off the stage, but her performance never once falters. She’s gives a hilarious and warm portrayal of the Elle with the vocal range that any lead musical star would be proud of.
Having both bowed out of their respective soaps earlier this year, EastEnders star Rita Simons plays Paulette Bonafonte and Emmerdale’s Bill Ward takes on the role of Professor Callahan.
Rita Simons isn’t on stage half as much as the rest of that cast. That being said, in beautician Paulette, she’s playing a great character who you wish was more involved in the storyline. Mainly known for her acting, Simons also displays an incredible singing voice when she does get the opportunity to take centre stage.
Her rendition of Ireland in the first act has the audience in stitches and amazement over her stunning
Bill Ward gives a solid performance as the sleazy and arrogant professor who makes unwanted advances to Elle that turn him into the show’s villain. It’s one of the only roles in the show that doesn’t really have any comedy moments, but his Blood in the Water is a great, ensemble number that gives him a chance to really belt out one of the show’s many fantastic songs.
The choreography from Anthony Williams and Dean Street is smart and slick in every song from the glow in the dark skipping rope routine on Whipped Into Shape to the roller-skating male angels in the first act. Elle’s Delta Neu girls are amusing as they continually pop up as her personal cheerleaders through the show, even as part of a fake Greek chorus no one else can see.
Just like the chick-flick it’s based on, Legally Blonde The Musical is camp, clever and laugh out loud funny that’ll have you doing the Bend and Snap at every opportunity.