I saw Legally Blonde not long after it first opened, back when the incomparable Sheridan Smith was playing Elle with Alex Gaumond as Emmett and the delectable Duncan James (of Blue fame) as Warner. I’ll admit I expected it to be awful, but ATG were offering heavily discounted tickets to fill up a press-night and I think I only paid about £10 for central stalls seats. Well worth it for a glimpse of Duncan, I thought. So imagine my surprise when it turned out that show was spectacularly good!
The music is fabulously cheesy and I suspect I wasn’t the only one who left unable to get ‘Omigod You Guys’ out of my head. It’s a great song and a fabulous opening to the show. On this visit, primarily arranged to see Lee Mead as Emmett before he left, we had the cheat seats at the back of the stalls. They weren’t really restricted, but the overhang of the dress circle does make one feel rather detached from the action. Still, worth the dosh, I reckon and we could have moved forward a couple of rows if we’d wanted to.
The show sticks reasonably closely to the books, but adds a liveliness and extra comedic elements that make it work well on stage. The music enhances what is already a cheesy story and the songs are catchy, memorable and amusing. I was about to list some highlights and then got stuck trying to choose… I love the opening number, as I’ve already mentioned, ‘Serious’ is brilliantly written and still makes me laugh. ‘Take It Like A Man’ is also great and the ‘Ireland’ reprise is genius. It’s not so special when heard as part of the soundtrack, but combined with the choreography and Kyle ‘I’ve got a package’ the UPS guy, it’s fabulous.
The cast were brilliant and major props to them, so you’ll have to forgive the rather long paragraph ahead with rather more shout outs than I would normally give. Carley Stenson was Elle Woods and she was brilliant. I probably don’t need to tell you that I enjoyed Lee Mead as Emmett Forrest, but I will say that a) I wasn’t keen on the accent. There was nothing wrong with it, I just prefer his usual English one and b) I’d really like to see him back in a role like Joseph. Not that Emmett isn’t a major character, but he doesn’t have all that many songs and cute as he is, I really like him for his voice. Paulette was played by Natalie Casey and she was very good. I’d actually have liked to see her play opposite Sheridan, but even so she was fab. Peter Davison is still playing Professor Callahan so I have nothing to compare him to, but he’s certainly doing a good job of it. I liked Simon Thomas as Warner Huntington III, particularly in ‘Serious’. I’ve seen Tamara Wall before, but I think only as an ensemble member in Never Forget. This time she had a more leading role as Brooke Wyndham and her energy was great. Siobhan Dillon was wonderfull posh as Vivienne Kensington and Suzie McAdam was fabulously butch as Enid. Chris Ellis-Stanton played several charcters (apparently including Dewey) but he certainly made the biggest impression as Kyle. The way he moved and carried himself was fabulous. Finally, I was rather chuffed to see a couple of familiar faces in the ensemble. Stephane Anelli of Never Forget fame and Stephen Webb (not to be confused with my beloved Stevie (Steven) Webb) from Hamlet the Musical (who I also spotted in Paul (the bakery) just before the show).
The stage door at the Savoy was a bit of a pain and we had to wait a fair while. I got most of the leads, including Lee and Carly, but there was a second exit around the other side so I think I missed a few people I wanted because of that. I’d have liked to grab the ensemble guys I mentioned above as well as Simon Thomas and Peter Davison, but it wasn’t to be. In the end I was just relieved I managed to catch Lee as I wasn’t convinced he’d show, especially since it appeared that he then went on to Wicked’s 5th birthday party.
Anyhoo, randomly, I nearly walked into Holly James in Covent Garden, which put a smile on my face (I wonder if I’ll ever get to a point where I don’t get excited anymore about spotting ex-hippies? I doubt it somehow!). Even more randomly and even more off subject, I spotted the following on the label of my sister’s Naked Hair Rescue stuff that I was considering stealing a bit of:
“We don’t believe in testing on Bambi, Lassie or Skippy.”
Now, I can see what they’re trying to do there, but I have several issues with this. Firstly, is it strictly necessary for them to tell us that they don’t test on fictional characters? I mean I think I’d have noticed if there’d been a bit in Bambi where some scientists suddenly showed up, washed his hair, then monitored the results. Secondly, assuming that they are suggesting that they don’t test on those animals rather than only those specific characters, I’d also like to know how often people tend to test hair products on kangaroos and deer. Finally, I’d also like to point out that they make no mention of Thumper or Minnie and Mickey who I suspect would be far more under threat from potential product testing. So what exactly is the brand trying to tell us? They don’t test on loveable, named animals? They don’t test on certain types of animal? And also, just because they don’t ‘believe’ in it, doesn’t prevent them from doing it. All sounds a bit dodgy to me! (For the record, yes I know they’re just using an amusing phrase to stand in for ‘we don’t test on animals’ but I like to have long showers and I thought I’d share some of the weird and wacky things that floated round my head after seeing that particular statement. Also, my father assures me that they couldn’t get away with using a phrase like that to hide the fact that they do in fact test on mice and rabbits, so should I actually decide to use it, I may do so with a clean conscience… well other than the fact that it technically belongs to my sister and would be theft, in a manner of speaking…!)
Anyways, didn’t mean to rant about that for quite so long, but there ya have it!
Peace, loVe loVe and happiness,