We Go Legally Blonde (And Pink) At New Wimbledon Theatre

Review: "Audience brought to its feet by entertaining song and dance"

For theatre goers who have not seen the film version of Legally Blonde, this musical comedy has a complex plot which is confusing at times with its maelstrom of personalities, hilarity, relationships and themes which include the overturning of preconceptions, loyalty, respect, obsession and  friendship along with the juxtaposition of the staid world of law and the colourful life of students and the outside world. With an overarching theme of ‘Love’ the production treats its audience to a world of serious experience as well as entertaining song and dance which ultimately brought the audience to its feet.

The plot follows the story of Elle, played by Lucie Jones, the stereotypical blonde and a lover of fashion and pink. Elle gets into Harvard Law School in an unconventional way by selling herself through her motivation for ‘Love’ after having been dumped by boyfriend  (Warner Huntington III,  played by Liam Doyle) for a more ‘conventional and intelligent?’ girl. She hopes her entry into Law School will impress him in order to win him back. When Elle is given a position as intern and defends the character of Brook Wyndham, who is accused of murder, she proves her worth to all.

Legally Blonde logoFor me the production at certain times lacked the ‘wow’ factor that I was anticipating for a musical. The first scene gave us the sorority team performing a vibrant dance number, but I felt  the American accents of the dancers were drowning out any clear enunciation of the words they were singing.

However where I felt the production was lacking in some areas, in others it truly excelled. Lucie Jones sang beautifully and Bill Ward, who played Professor Callahan was suitably villainous. The highlight for me were the performances of Rita Simons as Paulette and Ben Harlow as Kyle who were both so funny, and showed wonderful acting skills. The love theme, demonstrated by two male cupids on rollerskates, reduced the audience to tears of laughter. They were truly wonderful. Paulette’s favourite CD of Celtic Moods and her dreams of Ireland, which gave rise to wonderful Irish dancing, were in stark contrast to the vibrant modern dancing displayed by the other male and female dancers and provided a wonderful insight into an alternative world albeit with a touch of high comedy.

This is one of the few shows which includes canine stars in the form of Bruiser the Chihuahua and Rufus the bulldog whose performances were admirably well behaved! They brought peals of laughter and we were unsure, especially with Rufus, what was going to happen next…..

Multiple shifts of scenery were seamlessly executed with star screens and cloudy blue skies reflecting the dreams of life and these were juxtaposed with the darker and static sets of staid law offices made interesting by vibrant lighting and higgledy piggledy angles. The mist produced by liquid nitrogen lent a fluidity, mystery and ‘fluffiness’ which enhanced the set well.

As well as pink there was plenty of colour in this production with the vibrant costumes of the sorority dancers and the glitzy costumes of the cheerleaders who accompanied Elle to her initial meeting for entry into Harvard. This all lent great interest to a musical centred around the world of law.

All in all this production was a feast of comedy and dramatic mayhem and I thought it was great fun!

  • Legally Blonde runs at New Wimbledon Theatre until Saturday (June 23)

By Carol Whittaker

June 20, 2018