Like the film before it, Legally Blonde tells the story of Elle Woods, a Californian sorority president who abandons her perfect life to follow her ex-boyfriend Warner Huntington III to Harvard Law School. It’s a heartwarming tale about a young woman who discovers that you can, in fact, be a professional success without sacrificing the things that are important to you.
Eurovision’s Lucie Jones is the star of the show; her Elle is as perky and lively as Reese Witherspoon’s original. Her performance is nearly flawless, and she captivates the audience as a character who is relatable and inspiring. Opposite her appears Eastenders’ Rita Simons, who thrills as beautician Paulette Bonafonté. Simons embodies the character perfectly as a lovable, shy woman who provides much of the show’s comedy. Her singing voice is surprisingly strong for a woman who made her name on a TV soap.
The rest of the cast cannot be overlooked. David Barrett makes a wonderfully dorky Emmett, though he struggles vocally with a few of the more powerful notes. Liam Doyle performs brilliantly as Warner and enchants the audience from his first appearance. Even the ensemble get their chance to shine. In a show filled with wigs and complex costume changes, their enthusiasm never fails and they give a truly sensational performance.
The show did, however, encounter a few staging issues. More than once, walls seemed to wobble dangerously mid-scene, and a wall of smoke hid an entire conversation from the audience. Nonetheless, these small issues do little to detract from an otherwise stellar performance.
Very rarely does a musical based on a pre-existing franchise stand up on stage, but this adaptation of Legally Blonde manages to take all the charm of the original film and add to it. Film fans will be glad to hear that infamous scenes like the ‘bend and snap’ remain, all enhanced by an upbeat soundtrack and hugely talented cast.
Legally Blonde is at the Lyceum Theatre until Saturday 4 November.