"LEGALLY BLONDE" by Carlton Operatic Society.
Nottingham Theatre Royal.
Oh My God You Guys! What energy! What pinkness!
After a bit of a sound issue with the microphones, which as it was first night can be forgiven "Legally Blonde" rolled along at a cracking pace. It's the story of Elle Woods who is madly in love wither her man Warner Huntingdon III, but when he takes her to dinner, a dinner she thought was going to see her becoming Warner's fiancee, he announces that he is off to Harvard Law College and needs to break up with her. Elle takes this badly and vows to win him back by also applying to get into Harvard to show him that she is what he wants.
Director Amanda Hall has form with picking strong female leads and she follows up last year's smash "Sister Act" with another great female led musical. Rosie Wade takes the lead role of Elle Woods and boy has she got a strong and powerful voice on her. Another director told me that the way you can judge a good actor is if you can believe in the role the actor is playing and the actor believes they are the character they are playing. Well I can confirm that Rosie is most definitely a good actor as I was drawn into her performance and believed in her character. Headstrong and passionate about what she wanted,and she got what she aimed for, albeit not what she initially thought she wanted.
Mark C-Bainbridge was Emmett Forrest. Mark is always consistent with his roles and this second Theatre Royal stage gracing just seems to cement my opinion that big stages are where he should be, or small stages. he looks comfortable wherever he plays. He's an actor you can also feel comfortable watching and his singing voice is the same, comfortable on the ear.
Elle's boyfriend, Warner, was played by Rob Holsman, another regular face on the Nottingham stages and a good choice to cast him as Warner. I seem to think that Rob's voice has either become stronger, or with him having an upfront role it's become more noticeable. Another convincing performance.
Another classy performance was from Graham Ward as Professor Callahan. A strong voice and a performance that was full of authority
I loved Helen Eadsforth's Paulette. She becomes one of Elle's best friends after a visit from Elle to her hair and nail parlour and they strike up a very believable friendship which helps Paulette not only get her dog, Rufus, back but also wins her the man of her dreams in Kyle the postal delivery man.
Although Kyle is only a small part, but with a large package, he certainly makes his presence felt, getting the first wolf whistle of the night (is that legal nowadays). Tom Keeling looks like he enjoys every single second he is on that stage as the flirty kyle as he struts and flounces across the stage, forever smiling at the audience as if there were a camera just poised on him. I think Paulette, and the audience, appreciated the shorts he wore! A great little fun role for someone who enjoys his work,and made it show.
Sarah Kelly played Warner's Harvard love who saw the light and dumped him and turned from prospective super bitch to being one of Elle's allies, and another classy vocal performance to boot.
Jessica Royce has my admiration for playing the accused Brooke Wyndham and keep fit guru. There is a section where Brooke is skipping, with a rope, and singing as well. Never a beat missed, a skip out or a sign of breathlessness during the energetic routine of synchronised workout. Top points MissJessica Royce for stamina!
And who can forget Rufus the bulldog and Bruiser, the Glee loving chihuahua who both definitely had the "aaahhhh" factor.
A solid large cast with many well known faces from the various local stages combine to create a very entertaining evening of fun and music which has a heart warming happy ending.
Slight sound issues didn't detract from the show. The lighting by Tom Mowat as professional as ever, and I must mention the smoothness and unobtrusive way the scenery was moved, and removed from the set. With your focus being on the actors on stage the scenes and props were moved and placed without any distractions. And that is also important for the rapid flow of the scenes. No waiting for blackouts or instrumental orchestral sections while the scenes changed, it was like watching a film moving from scene to scene. A job well done by the combined stage managers Jon Higton, Robin Meadows, Samantha Tibbs and Ian Mccarthy
A lovely sound from the orchestra under the direction of Christopher Rees and some energetic and entertaining choreography from Rachael Rees.
As I said, this is another BIG smash for everyone involved,and this really is a team effort from all involved, and that is probably why it all looks so effortless, which makes your evening with The Carlton Operatic Society such an enjoyment.
"Legally Blonde" is on at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 9 May 2015