Music and Lyrics: Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin
Book: Heather Hach
Director and Choreographer: Jerry Mitchell
Reviewer: Luke Walker
The Public Reviews Rating:
This fairytale story for the twenty first century perverts any rags to riches fable. Fashionista Elle Woods (Faye Brookes) is already rich – uber rich. Welcome to her world of pink, fluff, handbags, dogs in handbags and devoted sorority. She even has the model good looks boyfriend in Warner Huntington III (Gareth Gates). All she needs now is a giant rock on her finger to be complete. So when she is dumped for someone more ‘serious’ she is devastated. Undefeated, she decides to follow what she believes to be her love to Harvard Law School and win him back.
What follows is pretty much what you may expect. While everyone at law school is learning how to be sharks she is the fish out of water. Her pink laptop in a class of grey and her air head demeanor means she is bound to fail in this academic world. Doesn’t it? Of course it doesn’t. The plot is about as predictable as the “awws” from the audience every time a cute dog appears onstage. But that doesn’t matter.
The show bursts onto stage exuding energy from every pore of the made up and toned cast – and it never lets up. The characters are thin and the plot even thinner. The worlds they live in are sent-up and unbelievable. But it manages to get away with everything because it keeps its tongue firmly in cheek. There is enormous confidence in allowing the story to sway off at tangents. At one point the kooky salon owner Paulette (Jennifer Ellison) confesses during song that she is “not sure where this metaphor is going” and the highlight of the show is a number trying to decipher whether Nikos the pool boy is gay or simply European.
The performances across the board are exceptional. Strong support from the Greek Chorus and, in particular, Kyle the UPS guy (Lewis Griffiths) injects the show with massive laughs and whoops of delight from the mainly female audience. As Warner Gareth Gates has the desired swagger and arrogance needed to pull off his preppie attitude. The teaching aide, Emmett Forrest, is played with effortless charm and sensitivity by Iwan Lewis and Jennifer Ellison’s Paulette is measured with just the right amount of vulnerability keep her within the realms of believability. As Elle, Faye Brookes is superb and excels in her comic performance as much as her musical theatre talent. With a smile a mile wide she is cheeky, brazen, impetuous, and awful lot of fun! If you haven’t heard of her before I’m sure you will soon.
If you like your hot chocolate with a mountain of cream and extra marshmallows on the side then this is definitely the show for you.
Photo: Johan Persson
Runs until Saturday 22nd September 2012
Tags: Andy Mace, Faye Brookes, Gareth Gates, Heather Hach, Iwan Lewis, Jennifer Ellison, Jerry Mitchell, Laurence O'Keefe, Legally Blonde the Musical, Lewis Griffiths, Nell Benjamin, Opera House Manchester