Monday, 23 January 2017

“Legally Blonde” by Christchurch Theatre Club
Loughborough Town Hall
Legally Blonde The Musical is the story of college sweetheart and homecoming queen Elle Woods, who doesn't take no for an answer. When her boyfriend, Warner Huntington III, dumps her for someone serious, Elle puts down the credit card, hits the books and heads for Harvard Law! Along the way, Elle proves that being true to yourself never goes out of style.
Christchurch Theatre Club have a history of putting on some top notch productions and that run doesn’t end with this one because this big pink musical is just bursting with fun and vitality. Stereotypes, scandal, snobbery and sauce salubriously satisfy the senses superbly.
A wonderfully talented cast led by Lucy Maden as Elle, who has a gorgeous voice (something that I knew from past productions), and is very easy on the eye as well as the ear. She exudes fun in this role.When she sings as Lucy, as opposed to Elle, you can hear the contrast in her voice, something that I noticed in the second act.
Ashley Bright (Emmett Forrest) played a very strong Emmett, and again the rise from being the clever
"college kid next door" to the legal eagle, resplendent in smart suit in act two, along with a more confident attitude shone through. As did his voice. There were a couple of wobbles at the start but he soon got into his stride and was belting those songs out, Good power and control.
Playing the shallow intellect, Warner, is James Daw. What a brilliant part for James and again, another strong vocalist, especially noticeable in the song "Serious".
Perfecting her “bend and snap” and delivering some wonderful saucy lines is Julie Easter as hairdresser Paulette Bonafonte. Julie has one of those immensely powerful voices when she lets rip, and whether she thanks me for it or not, her voice reminds me ever so slightly of Jane McDonald (that is a compliment-honestly). Great chatacterisation, great fun to watch and great vocals, especially on one of the stand out tracks "Ireland"
Holly Easter (Brooke Wyndham) is a smaller but no less important character and her energetic version of "Whipped into Shape", complete with skipping ropes was one for the lads!
We all love a good villainous role and Guy Benson takes the mantle and runs with it as Professor Callahan, the slime ball (Callahan, not Guy).When Elle slapped him at the end, you really felt that slap, and heard it. If that was a theatrical slap, it was well executed but looked so realistic. if it was a proper slap, I imagine that Gut will be glad when this particular show ends! Guy made us, not hate the character, more intensely dislike Callahan, which shows that he did a good job of the role.
Lucy Gamble (Vivienne Kensington) starts off being the female baddie but then turns the role around, and I must admit, I did like the second act character best, but again that proves that Lucy is very good at her role play, and a good solid role it is.
Completing the main roles is Heather Gallagher as Enid Hoops.Some good comedy parts from Heather as Enid which I really enjoyed, A good gutsy performance.
There’s a fairly large supporting cast who complement the mains exceedingly well and of course the extra element of having not one, but two furry friends in Chilli and Lola, the two incredibly cute dogs who behaved themselves impeccably.
Several of the ensemble doubled up roles and there were some brilliant cameo spots from Craig Butterworth as the flamboyant Carlos, Jack Hardy as Nikos and Aaron Murray as Kyle B O'Boyle, the delivery man. Never was a role so suitable for Aaron as this great fun, saucy role and he acted like he knew it as well, delighting the ladies on the front row as he made his way to the stage.
Brilliantly bouncy soundtrack which had the audience bouncing with them. The orchestra under the musical direction of Vicki Hing sounded superb. There were several varied musical styles, all sounding fantastic, especially the more uptempo disco-style numbers.
The exciting choreography was also varied but all the dancers threw themselves into the dance routines with great energy, Choreographed by Michael Gamble, who also directed the show. Its a fast paced musical and he kept it rolling like a big pink shiny glitterball.
The sets were wonderful and changed so fast as well. No hanging about here, as soon as one was finished with it was on with the next making this a really smooth fast-moving show.
Sound may be the only thing that let this production down slightly. At times there seemed to be issues with mics either not working or it may just be that there weren't enough mics to go round. Some of the singers were lost because of this. It may just be first night technical wobbles and it didn't spoil the show, but may need addressing. Apart from that the sound quality was, as usual,excellent.
Marvellous costumes and wigs and some very quick changes. Loads of props which looked great and a big hand must go to someone who must've worked his socks off due to the smoothness of the show and what we saw on stage, the stage manager, Adrian Wray
This is a tasty show, not only because one of the characters is called Chutney, and I have it on very good authority that there is cheese involved, but I’m not going to reveal where and how it’s implemented (our secret Julie) but it will leave anyone watching this production feeling in the pink. This much fun surely must be illegal!
“Legally Blonde” is on at Loughborough Town Hall until Saturday 28 January 2017. Oh My God you guys shouldn't miss this one because you'll feel so much better for seeing it! I'm serious, I'm positive it's just what you want on a cold January evening to warm you up.

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