Over 10 years since Legally Blonde the Musical opened on Broadway it is still proving to be a massive hit with audiences just like the original 2001 film version starring Reese Witherspoon.
Currently in the last week of its UK and Ireland tour, the show is back in Manchester bringing as much pink, glitter and sparkle to the Palace Theatre as the city saw at last years’ Pride!
On this visit Lucie Jones dons the blonde tresses to play the lead role of the Elle Woods and boy does she wow with her vocals. The former X Factor finalist who has earned her West End stripes previously in Les Mis, proves she can switch it up like a pro here with her goofy and often hilarious portrayal of the Malibu sorority girl.
For those who have never seen the film or stage show, (where have you been?), Legally Blonde the Musical is an all singing, all dancing romantic comedy which sees pink princess Elle Woods go from Homecoming Queen to Harvard Law Student all in the name of love. In her bid to get serious Elle tries to abandon her blonde roots until she realizes being true to herself might be the best way to find her happy ending and fulfil her potential.
To hardened Legally Blonde fans Jones as Elle may be a little more left field than previous performances in the role from Sheridan Smith and Faye Brookes but what she does bring is a new take on the role which is quite refreshing to watch.
Another revelation is ex-Eastender Rita Simons as Paulette. Not only is it a nice surprise to hear Simons raspy rock-fueled vocals but she also creates a loveable kooky character which leaves you rooting for the unlucky in love beautician throughout.
Watch out for scene stealers Bruiser and Rufus, the two canine cast members who delight the audience – as does Ben Harlow who plays the easy on the eye UPS delivery guy. Harlow’s role might be small but he makes a massive impact, especially when he starts ‘river-dancing’ with Rita Simons Paulette – a moment worthy of a standing ovation.
Now, whilst I’d love to say ‘Omigod You Guys’ this show is perfect, there are a few moments where the rose-coloured glasses slip. Towards the end of the first half it begins to feel a little long and labored, perhaps due to the fact the bigger scenes were waiting to come after the interval.
As soon as the second half started though all was forgiven as the pace picked up with the breathtaking number ‘Whipped In To Shape’. Led by Helen Petronova as jailed fitness queen Brooke Wyndham, the sequence left the audiences in awe at how the six packed performer managed to skip like a boxer in training whilst still singing, and not missing a beat!
Elsewhere a big nod must go to Director and Choreographer Anthony Williams who pulls off one of the best musical numbers I have seen in a long time with There! Right There! The courtroom scene number, which involves the entire ensemble is slick, hilarious and even comes with a mini ballet sequence that will leave you in stitches.
Legally Blonde the Musical is the ultimate feel-good night at the theatre. It’s cheesy, fun-filled and, with the newly added megamix finale, it will have you jumping out of your seats with glee and embracing every moment of escapism.
Be prepared to be ‘bending and snapping’ way after the curtain falls and digging out all the pink from your wardrobe for the next few days.
Legally Blonde The Musical
Runs at the Palace Theatre until 30th June