With a story readily familiar to anyone who grew up in the early 2000s and/or law students everywhere, Legally Blonde: The Musical, based on the 2001 film of the same name, was sure to be a hit.
Revived by the Willoughby Theatre Company following a successful Australian run, Legally Blonde follows Elle Woods’ journey to Harvard law to prove to love interest/ex-boyfriend Warner Huntington III that she is serious and not just the Malibu pin-up girl from sorority Delta Nu.
The musical is almost entirely a carbon copy of the film and for this reason will delight fans enormously. Songs such as ‘Serious’ (a duet between Elle and Warner), ‘Positive’ and ‘Blood in the Water’ are supremely fun, upbeat and memorable, performed with aplomb by a talented local cast whose chorus stands out for their very obvious camaraderie and enthusiasm.
Aside from the opening number which in parts is barely audible, the rest of the production is very likeable, with character Paulette’s love interest the deliveryman remaining a fixture throughout despite his comparatively short stage presence through excellent comic timing and affable humour.
Some of the numbers are regrettable, in particular ‘Gay or European’ and ‘Ireland,’ a short, recurring Irish dance number which is a near nonsensical introduction to an otherwise well-thought out musical. Aside from the few unfortunate additions to the production, the musical itself, made several years after the original film’s release, does not age well and very much feels like it was written and staged at that time rather than striving for a modern iteration.
Many of the jokes, gags, songs and cultural jibes, as well as the sensibility of the story itself, do not bode as well as they would have upon the film’s debut, and could use with some simple updating for current and future productions, a not uncommon practice in theatre when parts of the subject matter become outdated.
Not detracting significantly from the quality of the production and efforts of the more than capable cast, Legally Blonde: The Musical is a fun night at the theatre by a Company that is creating increasingly professional, high-calibre and appealing productions.
3.5 stars out of 5
Legally Blonde: The Musical