Thursday, 6 September 2012

York 2012 Legally Blonde Review

One year on and Legally Blonde is once again receiving glowing reviews from the Yorhshire locals.

The below review was written by Nadia Jefferson for the York Press. I've yet to see a review that doesn't single out Faye for special praise and this is no exception.

Legally Blonde Review
York, Grand Opera House - September 2012

Legally Blonde The Musical is unashamedly candyfloss pink and fluffy, and makes you want to burst into song and attempt a high leg kick all at once.

The award-winning hit attracted a packed house on its opening night in York on Tuesday where the audience was clearly up for a good time from the outset.

For those not in the loop, this all-singing, all-dancing romcom is the musical spin-off from the Legally Blonde film featuring Reese Witherspoon and has gone on to win seven major awards including Best Musical 2011 (Olivier Awards).

It features Faye Brookes as Elle Woods, who played the perky part perfectly, the role fitting her as snugly as her sequined suits and fluffy bunny costume as she conveyed real warmth, great comic timing, vulnerability and vitality in equal measure.

The bottle blonde from Malibu is studying “fashion merchandising” but is far more interested in her boyfriend who then dumps her on the the night she’s expecting a proposal because he’s moving on to a serious life at Harvard Law School.

Distraught, she follows him, cute chihuahua in tow, and despite being shunned by the Ivy League snobs, she eventually finds her stride, takes on a murder case and gets her man - but not the one she was initally chasing.

Yorkshire singer Gareth Gates plays badboy ex Warner, instantly winning us over with his good looks and velvety smooth voice. His performance and ease around the stage shows how far he’s come since his stammering showdown with Will Young in the Pop Idol final many moons ago.

There’s also strong support from Jennifer Ellison as Paulette, the down-at-heart hairdresser Elle befriends,; from Andy Rees as the corduroy-clad Emmett who finally steals her heart; Andy Mace, as the predatory Professor Callaghan; and Tracey Penn, as Elle’s love rival Vivienne.

Lewis Griffiths won the loudest laughs as a UPS Delivery Man, striding around, finely toned muscles rippling beneath skimpy shorts before an admiring audience of mostly women with a smattering of dragged-along husbandsand boyfriends.

Some moments were slightly risque but, like the rest of the show, never crossed the bad taste border.

Director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell is to be applauded for this feel-good show, which is light, fast and frothy, with some great dance routines, notably the Whipped Into Shape number which uses furiously-fast skipping ropes.

Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin’s score is upbeat and catchy, though not all particularly memorable, with some witty lines in the lyrics.

As a newcomer to the show I’d expected it to be harmless, take-it-or-leave-it, shallow chic-lit-like fun. But it’s so much more, with an enjoyable tongue-in-cheek script, witty one-liners, laugh-out-loud moments, along with the simple message - don’t judge people by appearances, and stay true to yourself.

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