There’s quite a lot to live up to as Legally Blonde’s West End counterpart won seven major awards including Best Musical at the 2011 Olivier Awards. The musical focuses on Elle Woods who decides to apply for a place at Harvard Law to follow her one true love. However, with help from her new friends, Elle soon realises that brains are better than love and she soon gets her priorities right starting on a whole new journey.
Directed by award winning director Jerry Mitchell – known for his work on Hairspray – Legally Blonde is simply one of the funniest and most enjoyable shows to come to The Mayflower and with Ray Quinn as Warner and Les Dennis as Professor Callahan, people are coming from all over because of the celebrity names. Coming in to the theatre however, I notice how pink everything is and how geared towards women the musical seems. The majority of the audience are women with a few disgruntled husbands/boyfriends that have been dragged along for company and at first glance, it seems this isn’t the musical for men.
The show opener carries on the female gossip theme with the excellently named “Omigod You Guys” displaying the excellent humour and bundles of energy that the show posseses which gets the audience (including the men) buzzing, preparing them for whats to come. Sophie Isaacs, Sinead Long and Micha Richardson who portray Margot, Serena and Pilar respectively show off the typical sorority charm and Californian accents you would expect from a show of this nature. Faye Brooks’ entrance as Elle Woods doesn’t go amiss as an excellent costume change during the opening number leaves the audience wondering how they achieved such a quick change. An animal really does steal the show as Bruiser runs on stage. The animals are excellently trained as they do exactly what they are meant to with no major hiccups.
We first see Ray Quinn about 10 minutes in to the musical and unfortunately his performance does not live up to expectations. His accent is somewhat rusty and although his excellent vocal talent shines through, his accent slips in places and unfortunately ruins certain moments. During musical numbers the band does seem to drown out the voices of the actors, but this was quickly rectified by the middle of Act I. On the other hand, I’d have to say Niki Evans’ character Paulette truly does steal the show and her solo song ‘Ireland’ and her use of stereotypes strikes me as one of the best songs of the whole musical and will definitely get you laughing!
A point that crops up throughout though is the lack of set on stage; The Mayflower is a substantial stage to fill, but is smaller than the West End stage it was previously performed on. The company could have utilised the set better in certain areas, as there was a lot of dead space which sadly draws your attention away.
The dancing abilities of the ensemble are definitely shown in the opening number of Act II with an upbeat song demonstrating an exercise DVD using skipping ropes. They are all in time and it looks phenomenal, and is sure to be something that everyone remembers if they see the show. Unfortunately however, the set once again lets the show down as the jubious backdrop supposedly represents a prison despite the attempts of the lighting to rectify this.
Act II sees Elle win her first case which comes with as much humour as the rest of the musical, and is definitely an excellent end to the musical – you genuinely feel proud that she has succeeded. All in all, Legally Blonde has been very well put together and with a few set and accent improvements, this tour will be very successful. It is definitely something for men and women to see as you’ll both be laughing. Many men came out of the theatre saying they enjoyed it, but wives promised a vow of silence not to tell their friends they were there. It is a definite guilty pleasure for a lot of men.
This will no doubt be a hugely successful tour as flocks of people head to The Mayflower if they missed out on seeing it in London. It’s a show for men and women so get tickets before they all sell out!
Tickets can be purchased here or from the theatre directly.