Reviewed by Louise Watts
Most women love a good romantic comedy and Legally Blonde is no different. Based on the book by Amanda Brown and the film with the same name, (released in 2001) starring Reese Witherspoon, Legally Blonde The Musical was born. Elle Woods, a blonde desperate to marry her sweetheart Mr. Warner Huntingdon III. This woman will go to any length to become his wife but the one thing stopping him from proposing – she is blonde. And when she is dumped by him as he wants a more serious girlfriend she decides the pink and blonde has to go and the books and study have to prevail!
This evening, I attended the opening night of Legally Blonde The Musical at the Theatre Royal in Brighton. With a star-studded cast, I had high expectations. Lucie Jones has the star role as Elle Woods. With some impressive theatre credits to her name already as well as representing the United Kingdom in Eurovision last year coming 15th, she has talent in abundance.
Accompanied by Rita Simons best known as Roxy Mitchell in EastEnders and Bill Ward (Coronation Street’s Charlie Stubbs and Emmerdale’s James Barton), this was a cast not to miss.
I expected big and that is exactly what was delivered. From the moment the show opened it was big and bold. Picture American college and cheerleaders with big songs and bright colours. Lucie put in a phenomenal performance as Elle. Her acting and singing were just brilliant, and you could not help but be drawn to this character who just wants to be taken seriously despite being blonde!
Rita Simons played Paulette Bonafonte, a romantic at heart who believes in true love but has never quite found it. Paulette and Elle become good friends, and both get their happy ever after in the end. Rita is a fantastic actress and she did not disappoint tonight. Her performance was spot on and boy has she got a beautiful voice when she sings. Please do some more musical theatre Rita, don’t waste that voice, it should be heard!
Law professor Callahan was played by Bill Ward. Bill always plays the villain and I had hoped to see a softer side to him tonight but that was not the case. He once again played a lady’s man come baddie. Not taking away from the fact he played the part really well and again it was lovely to see a soap star show us their full talent with acting, singing and dancing.
My personal favourite character had to be Emmett Forrest played by the gorgeous David Barrett. The character was delightful, and it was a breath of fresh air to see a character like him achieve a happy ending! I came away thinking I would like to wrap him up and take him home in my pocket… a truly lovely character played to perfection by an impressive actor.
It would not be fair not to mention the performances of Liam Doyle as Warner Huntingdon III and Laura Harrison as Vivienne Kensington. Two incredible actors who put in an amazing performance tonight, as did the rest of the cast and swing and of course Bruiser!
In the beginning of the performance, there were a few teething problems with the set, particularly with Elle’s house. This was a shame as it took away a little from the show when it was being corrected in the background. Hopefully, that can be sorted before tomorrow’s show as it would be a big shame to tarnish such an incredible show due to a set issue. The rest of the set worked though and set the scene well for the various different places.
The show itself was fast and furious with some excellently written songs and some very impressive choreography, particularly the skipping rope scene – genius! The Roller Skating Cupids were a nice treat too!!
The running time of the show was almost 3 hours including an interval and the whole of that time was packed with comedy and feel good factor. The finale was out of this world and showed that pink and blonde really do prevail!
It was lovely to see so many people out on a sunny Monday evening in Brighton. The Theatre Royal is a lovely venue with a capacity of just under 1000. To see it packed out is a treat. The staff are always pleasant and willing to assist wherever they can and the facilities for drinks and snacks are good, there are numerous restaurants nearby all offering pre- theatre meals too, so you will never be short of somewhere to get food. Parking is easy in the multi storey just a couple of minutes’ walk away and with a set rate of £6 for the evening, I think that is fairly reasonable for a city centre car park and for convenience, you cannot beat it.
I would thoroughly recommend this show to anyone who wants a fun packed light-hearted evening at the theatre. A true musical theatre treat with some incredible lyrics and brilliant acting!
Tickets cost from £15 to £51.50 (excluding fees).
Legally Blonde The Musical is at the Theatre Royal in Brighton from 11-16 June 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/brighton or call the box office on 0844 871 7650.
Theatre Royal. New Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 1SD | 0844 871 7650