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  • Writer's pictureFrances

Legally Blonde the Musical Review | Palace Theatre | Manchester

Bringing the synergy of a charismatic cast and a laughable narrative, Legally Blonde the Musical offers a revival of its 2001 hit film starring Reese Witherspoon. Not much has been altered in terms of plot as we follow Elle Woods (former X-Factor and Eurovision Song Contest contender, Lucie Jones) as she fights to keep her man by getting into Harvard and proving she’s serious.

Untethered to reality, Legally Blonde transfers seamlessly into a musical. Alongside a live band the entire music catalogue, that includes Omigod You Guys, Whipped Into Shape and Bend and Snap is purely catchy and upbeat. The cast that include Rita Simons (EastEnders) as Paulette and Bill Ward (Coronation Street) as Professor Callahan are a great mix of talented singers, dancers and overperformers that are required to keep the show buoyant. Playing up for audience laughs and embracing their roles, the large cast of caricatures offer enough distractions to keep the formulaic and well-known story fresh. Additionally, energising the audience with special guest appearances of Bruser and Rufus.

Elle’s journey of self-discovery runs her through several set pieces, from her Delta Nu sorority to the halls of Harvard. However, the sets themselves are a little worse for wear, with one that appeared to have been karate kicked in and many others roughed up. Costumes were equally shabby chic, offering some fashions that no lady of the noughties era would be seen dead in.

The production saved its budget for its interval and final moments, offering Elle’s name in lights and a confetti finale, the rest was really smoke and mirrors. Mainly smoke, as the malfunctioning fog machine began to make more appearances than Elle. While smoke over spilled into scenes at law office and beauty parlour the overall feeling was a party atmosphere that wouldn’t stop. This production kept its audience smiling and offered an amusing retake of the original. Also similar to its original, in that it is saved by its fantastic performers and its ability to make fun of itself. If you are a fan of the film, then you are bound to love its musical companion. Even if you aren’t, what’s not to love about a crowd pleasing, cheesy rom-com?

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