Legally Blonde (based on the movie of the same name) tells the story of Elle Woods, a party girl who decides to go to Harvard Law School to convince her ex-boyfriend that she can be serious.
You won’t find a more warm, fun, and all round delightful musical anywhere.
This wonderful production is quite clearly a labour of love for everyone involved. Anthony Williams’ direction is exceptionally thoughtful and his attention to detail is a joy. There isn’t a character-exit or a line that falls flat. He has a lot to work with in this respect because the entire cast give loving, nuanced performances full of personal touches that make the show burst out of the stage. David Barrett is endlessly charming as working class scholarship boy Emmett, and Rita Simons’ Paulette is warm and funny. Bill Ward’s measured nastiness as Callahan is a delicious treat, and Laura Harrison’s surprisingly vulnerable Vivienne is as much of a pleasure as her gorgeous voice.
Against such a talented cast, anything less than the perfect Elle would be drowned out. Luckily, perfect is what Lucie Jones offers us. Her voice is incredible, of course, but her interpretation of Elle is sensational. Jones is a very physical comic actor, and she gives us a goofy, witty Elle who will use everything she has to make us laugh. She also really gets to the heart of what makes Elle such a loveable character: she’s brilliant in support. Watching Lucie Jones offer a platform to Emmett, or boost Paulette’s confidence, is almost as good as watching her when she’s centre stage.
The musical elements are fantastic. The songs are all catchy and the dance numbers are wonderful. Dean Street and Anthony Williams’ choreography goes the extra mile – every routine seems to have a final trick up its sleeve to lift it into something really special. Generally the production takes just the right amount of creative licence from the fact that it doesn’t have to be naturalistic: the famous courtroom scene, for example, takes place in a bathroom just because it’s more fun that way. The whole show is simply joyous.
However, the representation of race and sexuality isn’t great. Virtually every character in the show is white, and those that aren’t are usually racial stereotypes: there’s the rich Indian prince, and the comic Spanish pool boy. Similarly, every character who isn’t straight is a gay stereotype. Honestly, in this respect the musical has made improvements on the original film, but seeing these kinds of lazy stereotypes turning minority groups into punchlines is really disappointing in a show that is otherwise constantly injecting subtlety and humanity into what it does.
Still, if you are able to overlook these problems, you are in for a treat. This production would be absolutely at home on a major West End stage, so to see something of this calibre touring to Glasgow is exceptional. You won’t find a more warm, fun, and all round delightful musical anywhere.