OMG you guys! REVIEW of Legally Blonde: The Musical (New Theatre, Oxford)
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You probably saw the film, way back in the day (2001 fact fans). You may have seen the musical in London. You’ll know it won Best Musical in 2011, and that Sheridan Smith nabbed Best Musical Actress at the Olivier awards.
But after three years in the West End, Legally Blonde: The Musical is touring. A different animal with a different cast. So how does it fare?
Well, put it this way. My mother was howling with laughter next to me and for two hours I forgot about what was possibly my worst day EVER (oh no, hang on, that was the forceps birth).
The absence of Sheridan Smith in the cast meant that it was Faye Brookes’ chance to shine and she, like, totally did. Though looking disconcertingly like Geri Halliwell in her yoga phase in the second half of the show with her straightened hair (here’s a link to the trailer – see for yourself!), she was foxy and cute and winning and all the things that Elle Woods had to be so you didn’t loathe her to your very marrow.
Jennifer Ellison (ex soapy and Hell’s Kitchen winner, Chicago star etc) was supposed to be playing Paulette but a family illness meant understudy Rhona McGregor took her place and blew the doors off the auditorium, so if Jennifer takes a more lengthy leave of absence don’t worry too much.
And guess who else came to the party? Gareth Gates! Yes, little Gareth Gates, all grown up and looking handsome and preppy, acting and singing like the pro that he’s obviously become over the last few years. It had obviously passed me by that he’s been in gazillions of musicals since his lucrative pop career in Taiwan and Korea came to an end. Pop Idol 2001 still seared on my memory, I have to admit I held my breath every time he was about to speak, anxious that his stammer might return under pressure, but that’s evidently way behind him now.
The band was slick, the dancing was faultless, the production bounced and popped and rollicked along without even drawing breath. No-one fluffed a single line, as far as I could tell. The audience were really involved, whooping and clapping and obviously having a great time.
What wasn’t so good? The scenery wobbled a bit (but really, who cares?), the microphones hovered strangely on everyone’s forehead like a giant spot or misplaced hair grip; a couple of the supporting girls were a bit vocally weak (but others were phenomenal); and the dogs, though crowd-pleasers felt slightly like they’d strayed from the Britain’s Got Talent stage.
But really, those are just pathetically tiny gripes. It was massive fun, particularly for daughters, mums and girlfriends (apologies if any pink-loving, musical-crazy blokes are reading this). Go see it before it heads up to the Midlands.
‘Legally Blonde: The Musical’, showing at the New Theatre, Oxford until 21 July; Milton Keynes Theatre 31 July- 11 August; New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham 28 Aug-1 Sept. Tickets £19.50 – £45. http://www.legallyblondethemusical.co.uk