Wednesday, 12 June 2013

One 'Elle of a Time

It’s fun, it’s sharp, it’s pink - Legally Blonde the Musical has finally hit Melbourne! After a sensational run on Broadway in 2007, touring the UK and North America, the beloved and light-hearted production has come down under. Now showing at Melbourne’s own Princess Theatre, this is one show not to be missed.

As fans of the wildly popular 2001 Reese Witherspoon film adaptation know, the story follows Elle Woods, a perky but headstrong sorority girl from Malibu, California. After being dumped by her dreamy Prom King boyfriend Warner for not being ‘serious’ enough, Elle hits the books and manages to follow him to Harvard Law School, finding herself a little fish in a big Ivy League pond. Determined to prove she is more than a stereotypical dumb blonde, Elle enlists the help of her classmate Emmett (David Harris) to stay focused in class and her hair stylist Paulette (Helen Dallimore) for advice with everything else. Throughout the two acts we follow Elle take on a journey of self-discovery as she realises her true potential and earns the respect of her peers and colleagues – all while maintaining her perfectly accessorised style.

The lead is portrayed by Australian musical star Lucy Durack, best known for her role as Glinda the good witch in the iconic ‘Wicked’. This time she’s traded in her magic wand for a tiny Chihuahua named Bruiser, but wears every bit as much pink. Lucy brings an endearing and believable quality to the role, delivering lines with utmost sincerity and making us fall in love with her big heart and refusal to give up on her dreams. The entire cast fit together seamlessly, from Cameron Daddo as the smarmy, ruthless Professor Callahan, to Rob Mills as the Abercrombie model-esque Warner, and even the overly excitable and sassy sorority sisters.

Though only in a few scenes, Mike Snell steals the show as Kyle the sexy UPS guy with buns of steel and a high kick to match any professional Irish dancer. His charm (and signature line “I’ve got a package”) wins over not only the smitten Paulette, but also had the audience screaming with delight. David Harris’s portrayal of the raggedy but loveable Emmett also received great enthusiasm, especially after his transformation in “Take It Like A Man” – the makeover scene any good musical deserves.  Ali Calder (Vivienne Kensington) and Erika Heynatz (Brooke Wyndham) also give outstanding performances as two powerful, independent women, reiterating the overall sense of ‘girl power’.

With eight shows a week, the cast showed no signs of tiring and were full of life in every number. The opening scene is also particularly enthusiastic, opening with the song “Omigod You Guys”, taking place in the Delta Nu Sorority house. The girls all gather eagerly, excited to prep their Prom Queen for her pending engagement.

Perhaps the most impressive element in the show is the intense four-minute number “Whipped Into Shape”, a clip of Brooke’s extreme workout DVD involving singing, dancing and acting – all whilst jumping rope to the fast tempo of this fast tempo song. This high-energy sequence delivers Brooke’s message: “What does not kill us makes us hotter!” and leaves the audience in awe of their incredible fitness and six-packs.

I won’t spoil the ending for any who haven’t seen the film, but it’s definitely a satisfying one with a few final laughs and catchy song-style wrap up of the fates of these characters we've come to love. Instilling the message that it’s possible (and endearing) to be both a “Marilyn” and a “Jackie”, Elle serves as a positive role model for females everywhere and blokes are just as sure to enjoy the show. A true feel-good musical that will leave you singing the songs for days, this show conveys that being true to yourself never goes out of style.
It was, to quote the girls of Delta Nu, “all that and a side of fries”.

Legally Blonde the musical is now showing at the Princess Theatre, contact Ticketmaster on 1300 111 011 or online before it ends! The show runs for 2 hours 25 minutes with a 20 minute interval, the perfect time to pick up an Elle Woods-themed drink; a Pinktini cocktail. Go to a night time session to make the most of the exciting theatre atmosphere and feel like a real star as you get your photo taken on the pink carpet. Guaranteed a terrific night out for friends, family, law students, cheerleaders and everyone in between. Book now and don’t miss out!

*photos are not mine

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