IF YOU’RE unconvinced by the old adage that blondes have more fun, a trip to the Festival Theatre could change your mind. For Legally Blonde: The Musical, based on the hit film starring Reese Witherspoon, takes to the stage in an orgy of pink and pooches.
Pink because that’s the favourite colour of main character Elle, and pooches because the show features two genuine dogs – none of your Lion King or War Horse pretendy animals here! The producers were so keen on getting the right canine for the part of tiny Bruiser that they auditioned animals in every city this touring production visits. And there’s a second dog, brutish Bruiser, to boot.
Former X-Factor contestant Lucie Jones, who represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest this year, stars as girly girl Elle Woods, who finds herself dumped by her snobby boyfriend as he heads for law school because she’s not serious enough. As Warner heads for a hopefully high-flying career in law, he reckons the right woman will grease his progress – and Elle isn’t it.
Elle, though, may be flighty, but she’s got a keen brain and she’s determined to prove Warner wrong. She puts down the credit card, hits the books and heads for Harvard Law School. She’s going to prove to her feckless ex that she can be every bit as successful a legal eagle as him, while still being true to herself – well, they do make twinsets in tweed.
As well as Jones, the show stars former EastEnder Rita Simons, who leaves behind the many problems of Roxy Mitchell (she’s currently dead, but that never stopped Dirty Den and Kathy making comebacks) to play Paulette, the crimper with a heart of gold who befriends Elle. And if you don’t know what “Bend and Snap” means, well, Paulette is ready to reveal all.
Another soap veteran who features is Bill Ward, former Coronation Street builder Charlie Stubbs – whacked to death with an ashtray by Tracy Barlow. Ward has a happier time here as Professor Callahan, the law lecturer who needs convincing Elle has what it takes.
While stage musicals based on non-musical films are often a tad desperate, padded out with old pop pap, Legally Blonde is anything but. It’s full of witty, original numbers by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin that deepen the characters while jollying the plot along .
And the critics agreed – Legally Blonde: The Musical earned seven Tony nominations and 10 Drama Desk Award nominations during its Broadway run. In the UK it was nominated for five Laurence Olivier Awards, winning three, including Best New Musical, and was nominated for eight Whatsonstage Awards and won four, including Best Musical. But facts and figures are no substitute for being there and seeing a West End quality cast sell such superb numbers as Ohmigod You Guys, There! Right! There! and of course, the title number.
Think pink – you won’t be sorry.
Tickets for Legally Blonde:
The Musical, which runs at the Festival Theatre from 27 November to 2 December, are available from edtheatres.com or 0131-529 6000.