Not having seen this relatively new musical, or the non-musical film, before, I was very interested to see this production. The energy and enjoyment from the cast was palpable. From the first opening number the pace didn’t slow throughout the whole production. It was clear that the cast were having a great time and the audience picked up on this very quickly.

To be honest, the story is a bit thin, but that’s not the fault of the company, director Darren Harper brought out the comedy and the pathos of every bit of the dialogue. The company, which has a huge number of very talented performers, made the most of every moment on stage and it was a feast of colour, sound and movement.

It’s always difficult to pick out just a few members of the cast when there were so many terrific performances on stage. If I were to name everyone this report would be several pages long! Newcomer Eleanore McCann was terrific in the lead role of Elle Woods. She was rarely off stage and had an extreme number of costume changes when she was not actually on stage. Her performance in this supposedly ‘dumb blonde’ role was just perfect. She was ably supported by a team of girls, all of whom were outstanding in their energy and performance levels. However another newcomer, Eleanor Softly (Serena) stood out, along with Victoria Tewes (Margot) and Louise Strachan (Pilar).

Olly Gourley, once again, proved what a versatile actor he is in the role of Emmett Forrest, a delightful performance. Lianne Lathe was brilliant as the hairdresser Paulette Bonifonte, she has the ability to completely occupy the character on stage with an excellent comedy performance. Paul Smith (Professor Callaghan) and Tobias Smith (Warner Huntingdon III) both produced strong and well defined performances.

The other principal characters were all excellent, giving very strong and well observed performances. A special mention for Gemma Carracher, singing and skipping is a combination that would sink the heart of many an actress, Gemma delivered perfectly, without missing a beat, well done. There were so many excellent characterisations from the other members of the cast that I am so sorry that I just don’t have the space to mention everybody.

The music was high energy, beautifully sung as I would expect from this company, well done to MD Ashton Moore for a band that delivered the right sound without drowning out the singers. Costumes were outstanding and a credit to the creative team. Lighting was absolutely in keeping with the high energy style of the production, although the movers on the side of the stage did blind the audience occasionally.

A particular credit for the way the cast moved the scenery around, it must have been very crowded backstage with the number of different trucks in use. However, it was all moved smoothly and maintained the pace of the show throughout.

Overall the production was a thoroughly entertaining evening, my thanks to the society for their excellent hospitality.

Tessa Davies NODA

Legally Blonde >

6-9 April 2016
Palace Theatre

Music & Lyrics by
Laurence O’Keefe
& Nell Benjamin

Book by Heather Hach

Director Darren Harper

Musical Director
Ashton Moore

Laura Witherall

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