19
Mar
13

Legally Blonde the Musical

Legally Blonde The Musical

Music & Lyrcs by Lawrence O’Keefe & Nell Benjamin.
Book by Heather Hach

Ambassador Theatre Group & John Frost

QPAC Lyric Theatre

19th March – 21st April 2013

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

Legally Blonde Opening Night

If you’re  following us on Instagram and/or Twitter, you probably had a say in which opening night dress I selected! This was the more elegant of the three, from Sunshine Coast vintage specialists in Mooloolaba Retournez-vous. Thanks girls! Image by Glowbored

 

“You never have to compromise.” Elle Woods

 

If I was to tell you you’d care deeply about the plight of a gorgeous blonde 4.0 Delta Nu Porsche-driving president who comes complete with a killer wardrobe and obligatory small dog, you’d …….laugh, right? Heather Hach

 

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Omigod You Guys! Mad props to everybody involved! I LOVED Legally Blonde The Musical! Not only did it deliver on every single promise, it did so in STYLE! The sort of style Elle Woods would be proud of! I admit, I was dubious after the friends and live-tweeters at last week’s previews questioned the show’s saccharine sweetness, but this is largely what I loved on Thursday night; the show is unquestionably sweet!

 

So Much Better than the movie – sorry Reese but it is – the musical is fun, uplifting and surprisingly powerful in its light delivery of many heartfelt messages, which seem at first to be very thinly veiled, that is, until Elle succeeds in following her heart and ends up in the right place with the right friends and the right man. See? Sweet! Lucy Durack is the ideal Elle (she auditioned for 8 months to prove it to producers!), and without a hint of Glinda – okay, maybe just a hint – Durack is proving to audiences once again what makes her one of the hardest working (with a fractured foot on opening night!), and best loved leading ladies in the Australian musical theatre scene. She’s simply glorious as Elle Woods; full of joy, vulnerability, ambition and optimism, as befits the character, and it’s hard to take our eyes off her.

 

Blonde_web5_t620Hot on her heels though, are Helen Dallimore, the powerhouse voiced Paulette with perfect comic timing, and Erika Heynatz, the model-turned-television-presenter-turned-triple-threat! As Brooke Wyndham, Heynatz stops the show with Whipped Into Shape, making singing while speed skipping look like child’s play (and yes, I had already promised Poppy, when we watched the (MTV) Broadway footage online, that we’d practice this number together at home. We’re still learning the routine, actually, thanks for asking). Of course, as you would expect (I’m being facetious), there’s a Greek Chorus comprising Elle’s best friends from the Delta Nu sorority, and these are the girls who may need to listen to some of what Elle has to say about true self-confidence.

 

On opening night there appeared to be a little bit of competition going on. I felt like somebody should tell them, “Don’t sweat it, girls, remember, YOU GOT THE PARTS! FIND YOUR INNER ELLE” and make them sit down at Interval to watch the Rumor Has It episode of Smash, you know, when Karen is taught to FIT IN. I’m sure they’ve settled already.

 

 

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The boys are no less impressive, with Rob Millsy Mills dripping charm as the apparently perfect boyfriend, Warner, Cameron Daddo oozing that awful, all-too-familiar “I can make you or break you baby so (a-hem) *kiss* me” vibe as the Professor, and David Harris delivering on all accounts as Emmett, to give us our fairytale ending. Not sure why we’re not seeing Harris regularly on Broadway yet but I’m glad he’s here for the moment! Omigod you guys, we should have asked him that! The male ensemble is strong, with its standout in Mike Snell, in his first actual role (as opposed to a succession of nameless ensemble roles, which have brought him this far), who sells his “package” with aplomb. Even with an Austin Powers sorta sight gag in there (really, it’s just a phallic reference but I thought it was time we all enjoyed a bit of Austin again!). Surprisingly, it’s not too much. In fact, as big and shiny as every element is, there is nothing overplayed or over produced to the extent that we question it. What this company, along with the extended creative team, and in particular Andrew Pole (Resident Director), have managed to do, is to stage in the Lyric Theatre, a shiny, glossy, sparkly, saccharine sweet Broadway smash-hit without losing anything of the original, except Laura Bell Bundy et al! (I’m including this link so you can appreciate even more, Lucy Durack, and our Australian daytime television talk shows. JUST SAYIN’ Y’ALL!).

 

The set is fabulous, the wardrobe is a new season Preppie-inspired fashionista’s dream, and the dogs, omigod you guys, the DOGS! If nothing else, the dogs in this show will steal your heart. You’ll be grinning from ear to ear over the too-cute antics of Bruiser (Sparrow, Quinn & Audrey) and Rufus (Luka & Harris).

 

Legally Blonde The Musical has so much energy, so much excitement, so much FUN and so much PINK! This production is the perfect example of the new John Frost brand of bread and circuses (we saw it in Mary Poppins); it’s not for the masses with nothing, but for the masses with everything, who demand more, much, MUCH more. Legally Blonde is seriously fun, super slick and shiny; it’s sublime entertainment for everyone.

 

Ha! You’re bending and snapping now, aren’t you?!

 

 

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