Legally Blonde: the Musical and other discussions…

What I did on my holidays.  Or rather what I did at the weekend…

After a fantastically indulgent weekend of commercial musical theatre, I feel that I should share my reflections – particularly on one of the productions that I’m arguably most excited about, the controversial Legally Blonde: the Musical.  The theatre-going public seem to be decidedly split over this recent addition to the West-End catalogue but as much as the more theatrical elite may attempt to loathe and disregard the show, I’ll guarantee you that resistance is futile.  It’s as if we aren’t meant to enjoy things that lean towards the frivolous but theatre can be wondrously escapist and this show achieves this with camp elegance.

The show has opened to a wave of outstanding and praise-giving reviews, all be them often begrudgingly written; but what I love most about this production is that it fully accepts its contentious nature.  Don’t get me wrong, I am no fan of the current influx of stage musicals developed off the back of populist subjects, but the difference here is in the writing.  Legally Blonde is a stage musical, not a hashed adaptation, and delivers itself tongue-in-cheek throughout with celebrated wit and an uplifting score.  However, the show is not all candyfloss and lip gloss; lead character Elle Woods is adorable, warm but vulnerable, handled with superb vitality by Sheridan Smith who provides bang-on-the-nail comic timing twinned with moments of sudden touching compulsion.  I won’t attempt to summarise the plot as you will no doubt be familiar with the film, but the message of this show is clear in challenging the way people make assumptions about appearance.  It is directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, currently choreographing a show due to open just over the road in a few weeks, Love Never Dies.  Jerry provides a fast, light and fun overall feel with some fabulous dance routines.  The show features fantastic performances all round with this is a hugely talented cast headed up by Alex Gaumond (Emmett Forrest) and Duncan James (Warner Huntington III), as well as Sheridan Smith, and featuring Peter Davidson (Professor Callahan), Jill Halfpenny (Paulette Buonufonte), Aoife Mulholland (Brooke Wyndham), Andy Mace (Dad) and Caroline Keiff (Vivienne Kensington).

I encourage you to see this show, go on, let yourself go a little.

The second indulgence took the form of long-time favourite Avenue Q.  I was very pleased to see the show on Saturday night for what was for a large proportion of the cast, their last show.  As ever I found the show hilarious and surreal but with the added anticipation and adrenaline of the leaving cast.  Sadly leaving the show are Daniel Boys (Princeton/Rod), Joanna Ampil (Christmas Eve) and Edward Baruwa (Gary) and I wish them the greatest success in their new endeavors.  Certainly Daniel’s anticipation of the final line of the show “Everything in life is only for now” bought tears to many of his adoring fans.

theatreJunki © 2010

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