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Theatre Review: Legally Blonde The Musical (UK Tour) - New Wimbledon Theatre ✭✭✭✭

LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL
(UK TOUR)

NEW WIMBLEDON THEATRE

Review by Caroline Cronin

18th June 2018: Nine months into its ten-month stint, the touring production of Legally Blonde (currently residing at the New Wimbledon Theatre) shows no signs of slowing down, in an accomplished, confident production.

Building on the West End production that effusively launched onto the UK theatre scene back in 2010, Legally Blonde’s premise of a young woman finding her way in the world, and prevailing over all those who sought to judge her purely on appearances, is still staunchly relevant. Despite being eight years since its inception, Director Anthony Williams has chosen to stick firmly to the original book for the most part, and doesn’t attempt to update the script with more modern references which is a missed opportunity in some ways, but the jokes still land nicely. 

From opening number to closing megamix, the commitment and energy from the entire cast is impressive by any standard, not least of which from Helen Petrovna as Brooke, whose athleticism and simultaneous vocal ability is joyously baffling. Lucie Jones hits the pink nail firmly on the head in her interpretation of Elle Woods, showcasing some seriously stellar comedic nuance, and giving Elle the grounding she needs for the audience to fall in love with her.

The beauty of Legally Blonde is its ability to seamlessly combine unashamed ‘sorority’ humour with moments of honest, raw emotion…which often, you don’t see coming. Make no mistake; this might be a show designed for laughs, but I defy anyone to maintain a dry eye when Emmett (a wonderfully endearing turn by David Barrett) sings to Elle in the title track, declaring his love for this woman that has changed his life, yet realising that she has to leave him.

The set design by Jon Harris, Jason Bishop and David Shields complement Williams’ and Dean Street’s ambitious and vigorous choreography well, with seamless, moveable pieces that rarely interrupt the flow of the narrative. At times, Elizabeth Dennis’ costumes feel somewhat prosaic, not quite reflecting the slickness of the rest of the production…but there are some fun surprises at the end of the show.

For an uplifting evening in the theatre, Legally Blonde is the obvious go-to…but, much like Elle Woods, do not underestimate its intelligence. There’s a lot more to it than you might expect.

Four stars ✭✭✭✭

Legally Blonde is at New Wimbledon Theatre until 23rd June

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