Legally Blonde The Musical, Wolverhampton Grand Theatre - review and pictures
I love it when a movie makes a successful transition to the stage - and Legally Blonde the Musical at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre this week is one of the best.
Think pink, think girlie, think American and you pretty much have the theme. The stage adaptation follows the film version to a tee, so fans of Reese Witherspoon’s character, Elle Brookes and her pals will not be disappointed.
The storyline is inspirational, if a little unbelievable, but that’s the point. Legally Blonde is pure fantasy and does not pretend to be anything else.
Elle is convinced that her super-handsome boyfriend, Warner Huntington III is about to propose, but in actual fact, he is putting class and his career first and wants to break up with her.
Heart-broken and set on winning him back, the seemingly air-headed “Delta Neu” follows him to Harvard Law School, determined to win him back, with surprising results.
X Factor finalist, Lucie Jones is just “Ohmigod you guys” as Elle, bringing warmth, fun and humour to the role. She is sassy, classy, funny and perfectly cast.
There’s an excellent vocal performance from Liam Doyle as Warner, a role in which he oozes confidence and charm - and I enjoyed seeing him playing a scoundrel for a change, showing off a different side to his talents!
It’s the battle of the soap stars between Coronation Street’s villain, Bill Ward as Professor Callahan, who is suitably intimidating and rather smarmy and Eastender, the superb Rita Simons as Paulette, whose comic timing and vocals really raise the bar. Looking every inch the American trailer trash gal with a heart of gold, her solo, Ireland, is certainly a highlight of the evening.
David Barrett as Elle’s love interest, Emmett, makes the transformation from geek to chic perfectly leaving the ladies in the audience all a-flutter, and Ben Harlow as delivery man Kyle certainly raises a smile.
Anthony Williams and Dean Street’s choreography is unpretentious but extremely effective and a special mention must go to the rope skills of Helen Petrovna as Brooke Wyndham who opens the second half of the show with the stunning fitness number, Whipped into Shape, along with a team of dancers who have clearly trained hard.
Also watch out for one of the funniest duos ever seen in a musical theatre show in Act Two. I have not laughed so much in ages, but I won’t tell you why. No spoilers here; you have to go and see for yourself and, believe me, it is worth it.
The score of the show is musical theatre at its most extreme and maybe not the most exciting offering, unless you know the show well. I doubt you will go home singing any of the songs, but that said, it is cheesy, showy and incredibly uplifting and heartening, executed by a cast of strong vocalists and supported by an excellent band under the musical supervision of James McCullagh.
The set design could probably be a little more exciting, though for a touring show it is adequate, improved by sophisticated lighting effects and Elizabeth Dennis’ costumes are spot on, taking inspiration from the film which will keep the die-hard fans happy.
And last but certainly not least, I have to mention the teeny tiny Bruisey Williams-Dodd who plays Elle’s canine pal, Bruiser and the beautiful bulldog Chester, a lovable local hound, who plays Paulette’s dog, Rufus. Together they completely stole the show, lapping up the laughs and the oohs and ahhs!
A stunning pink finale rounded up the evening with everyone joining in.
Legally Blonde is simply good fun, not to be taken too seriously but guaranteed to entertain.
Runs until Saturday. Call 01902 429212 or visit www.grandtheatre.co.uk for tickets.