Legally Blonde – the modern classic based on the hit film where the ditzy blonde girl fights stereotypes to become a heroine for women everywhere. The new UK tour launched at the Churchill Theatre last week and it certainly champions the show’s message, despite a few snags.
Sorority sweetheart Elle Woods decides to chase ex-boyfriend Warner to Harvard Law School in a desperate attempt to win back his heart. On the way she discovers that being true to herself is far more important, using her newfound legal talent to help her friends and show that what’s on the outside doesn’t define who you are.
The new tour has everything you would expect from any version of Legally Blonde – an upbeat feel and buckets of heart brought to life by a talented cast. Sadly elements of this production are really letting the show down. What could have been a 5 star hit was littered with silly mistakes, although not enough to ruin what is an amazing performance of a musical favourite.
The choreography is so hit and miss it almost gives you whiplash. Huge dance sections are seriously outdated and don’t match the plot or music. The Delta Nus seem to spend more time doing ballet jazz than ‘shakin’ their junk’. However there are shining moments that stand out, with Whipped into Shape giving a masterclass in skipping, and Gay or European being truly inspired.
Elle’s costuming is a real disappointment with many of the outfits chosen being really frumpy, particularly the pink two-piece for Brooke’s trial which didn’t flatter the beautiful Lucie Jones at all. There are some amateur moments where you can see quick changes going on behind the set and references to Vivienne’s ‘flat shoes’ when she’s sporting heels higher than Elle herself! I hope attention to detail will come with time.
Overall I love how some parts of the book have been reinterpreted and new humour has been plucked from an already brilliant script. The set is great too; well-designed to compliment a touring space.
Musically the show has also had a little boost, with some minor changes to the original score including some lovely harmonies that really work. But please, I beg, get rid of the cringe-worthy ‘megamix’ at the end! It cheapens what is a really clever and established show.
Lucie Jones is a fantastic Elle, although I preferred how she was directed at Leicester Curve’s production of Legally. Her voice is simply stunning and you root for her from the start. Rita Simons gives an impressive and effortlessly funny performance as Paulette and you truly warm to David Barrett as Emmett although the part is at times undersung. This show is a real ensemble piece, with lots to do and dozens of characters pulled off brilliantly by the whole team, shining a light on the smaller parts.
I have faith that the production will iron out the creases with this show, hopefully including the ones in the stage cloths (pet hate), but the choreography really needs another look to reach perfection as a production. That aside, the new tour is funny and charming with talent coming from all angles; a great night out with a strong message that’ll leave you wanting to truly channel your inner Elle Woods.
Legally Blonde is at the Churchill Theatre until Saturday 23rd September before embarking on a UK tour. Full details of dates and tickets are here.
Photo credit: Robert Workman