June 18, 2018
Starring Lucie Jones, Rita Simons, David Barrett, Bill Ward, Liam Doyle, Laura Harrison, Helen Petrovna
Oh my God you guys! Legally Blonde is back! And what a production I saw on Monday night. Whilst not a replica of the West End or first tour of the show, it still lived up to it’s name and did the material justice. And I liked the fact that it was different in every aspect that wasn’t on paper. Although the sets and other visuals were not exactly the best money could buy, it didn’t matter for a fun show like this one.
Based on the film of the same name, the show follows Elle Woods (an electric Lucie Jones) as she follows the ‘love’ of her life Warner (perfectly sour Liam Doyle) to Harvard Law School and ends up discovering herself along the way. This is such a fun, but also poignant story and it’s success is a testament to how much people connect with it, which is why it keeps coming back. Unfortunately, I missed it at the Savoy several years ago, but this was as close as I could imagine to the quality of that production.
What I look for in a musical, is of course, great music. This show has it in buckets – from big production numbers like ‘What You Want’ and ‘So Much Better’ to the hysterical ‘Serious’, to the show-stopping ‘Gay or European,’ the toe-tapping never stops – every song is memorable and keeps you hanging on for more.
The cast here too are to die for. Rita Simons, who initially I was in two minds about, was fantastic as Paulette; she commanded the stage and stole each scene she was in. David Barrett was a natural, down-to-earth Emmett – you really rooted for him. And the talent continues with the supporting roles: Helen Petrovna brought the house down at the top of Act 2 with the always impressive ‘Whipped into Shape,’ and Laura Harrison served up vocal perfection in ‘Legally Blonde Remix’.
But this show without a doubt belongs to Lucie Jones. I mean, what a star. She was born to play this role. Sometimes, because actors are just human, every note may not come out crystal clear, but this was not the case with Jones. Every single note she sang was effortless, it’s like she didn’t even need to try in that department. She is also an incredible actress; funny and witty, she also learns along the way to tap into Elle’s vulnerable side which really makes you feel for her, especially in Act 2. Which brings me to the sure highlight during Monday night, the title song.
This comes at a point in the show which is given new light and new context, following the #MeToo campaign, and is relevant now more than ever. Of the many perks of being on the front row, I love the fact that in being so close to the actors you can really tap into their emotions in every scene. During the title song, Jones was visibly crying and there was nothing fake about it. It takes a certain calibre of acting to be able to do that – to transform yourself entirely into the character that you can’t help but have that much of a connection. This really rubbed off on me as well as everyone in the audience. A very special moment.
Speaking of audience, I love feel-good shows like this one that really get the audience going. The reaction at the end of the show was electric, from Jones’ standing ovation followed by the curtain call encores, everyone was just enjoying it so much; it really makes an enormous difference – the atmosphere was amazing.
So weather you’ve seen the show before or not, I urge you to see this production. The material and cast are enough to bring anyone back again – as I write this review, I am planning to go back tomorrow. That’s how special this show is.