Friday, 31 August 2012

LEGALLY BLONDE (UK Tour) August 2012

I first saw Legally Blonde in London, pretty soon after it opened with Sheridan Smith as Elle Woods - the ditzy blonde of the Delta Nu sorority who goes to law school to win back her boyfriend. It is almost impossible not to compare this touring production to the highly successful West End version and there are quite a few differences (i.e downscaling) to the show but this tour definitely keeps to the camp, fun spirit of the original production.

Faye Brookes, relatively unknown before Legally Blonde takes the role of Elle. She is perfectly cast. With the blonde wig she bares a striking resemblance to Reece Witherspoon from the 2001 film version. You can't help but fall in love with her character who grows to become the strong independent legally blonde. Iwan Lewis is also a loveable Emmett. He has great charm and works alongside Faye Brookes to create the perfect pairing.

Celebrity casting is not new to Legally Blonde and the tour has previously seen stars such as Ray Quinn, Liz McClarnon and Claire Sweeney. Joining the cast as Warner Huntington III is PopStar Gareth Gates and Jennifer Ellison as Paulette Buonufonté. Jennifer in particular was a surprising treat in the role. Her reunion with her dog Rufus is particularly sweet. Gareth Gates is great as Warner but I couldn't help feel his young PopStars image, which is still present, was absolutely right for the character of Warner. Nonetheless he played the part well.

Audience reactions clearly highlighted the scene-stealers of the show. Lewis Griffiths as Kyle the UPS Guy and Jon Reynolds as Kiki the colourist. Tracey Penn is a delight as Vivienne - her vocals soar above the rest, particularly in the Legally Blonde Remix. The ensemble are on fine form - energy aplenty even with the lack of space. What you get is the same performance but a scaled-down version of the London production - there is no Delta Nu house front for a start, that made a great opening image in London. A lot of scenes suffer a cut back in design, which is a shame but the original feel of the production remains.

With the production in London now closed the tour is the only option for those wanting to see it. There aren't many dates left but if it comes to a town near you soon or in future tours it is definitely worth a fun, care-free night out. It is definitely the feel-good show everyone loves.

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