nick730 (nick730) wrote,

Theatre review: Legally Blonde

It's a bit of a gamble taking someone to a new show as a Christmas present but fortunately Legally Blonde was a hit as far as my sister was concerned. Plugged as coming from the people behind Hairspray, that only refers to the design team as far as I can tell, but then I guess when the visuals are as important as they are to these two shows then fair enough. But it's pretty obvious the two don't share songwriters, as Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin's are lots of fun but not at all memorable - by the time I'd left the theatre I couldn't remember any of them.

Fortunately the show's energetic and ragingly camp enough that it doesn't mattter if you don't leave humming the tunes. The story doesn't differ much from the film, as far as I could tell only one major character has been ditched (the scary female lecturer) and it's well-cast. Sheridan Smith is the obvious choice to play Elle; I last saw her in Little Shop of Horrors and she's just as good here. Her ex-boyfriend is of course played by BISEXUAL Duncan James, so I guess it's just as well that he's meant to be pretty smarmy. Her geeky true love is played by CANADIAN Alex Gaumond, while rather excitingly the sleazy Professor Callahan is Peter Davison, which means I've now seen all the odd-numbered Doctors on stage, including #11 (although I'm not counting Doctors 1 & 3 because even I can grudgingly accept that stage appearances by men who've been dead for a decade or more are unlikely.) Penny was especially impressed by how good Jill Halfpenny was; the former Eastenders actress plays Stiffler's Mom Paulette the beautician.

While the music might not have struck me as anything special, I enjoyed a lot of the lyrics, especially one song that takes the piss out of America's overly-romanticised view of Ireland. And in case taking a film that was pretty gay to start with and turning it into a musical wasn't enough, there's lots of added campery in the songs and sets, including the song "There! Right There!" whose chorus deals with the dilemma of whether someone's gay or European. Unfortunately for the cast and crew none of them could ever be the star in a show that features live dogs on stage, and despite only making a couple of apparances it's Bruiser, played by a chihuahua also called Bruiser, who gets a bigger reaction than either Smith or BISEXUAL Duncan James at the curtain call.

Legally Blonde by Laurence O'Keefe, Nell Benjamin and Heather Hach is booking until the 23rd of May at the Savoy Theatre.
Tags: doctor who, sheridan smith, theatre

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