I booked tickets to see Legally Blonde more out of duty than desire when I heard it would be closing on April 7th. So many of my friends, colleagues, contemporaries had already seen it I felt like I may have been the last person on earth to walk through the doors of the Savoy Theatre in London’s West End. However, I was wrong to think so cynically of this show I had heard so much about. It features a hard-working cast who are polished to within a inch of their lives and look like their having a great time while they’re doing it. Having seen the show, I wondered why it was closing and noted that the theatre had been only about 70% full on the night I was there. Perhaps Legally, as it is known, has exhausted all the hen parties and teenage girls in London? Whatever the truth is this is a show to see, although may possibly have more appeal for the young, female audience.
Elle Woods is a ditzy, all-American girl, complete with chihauhau dog, Bruiser and handsome beau until he gets accepted to study at Havard Law School and decides he should date someone more serious. I was expecting for this all to be performed in a way that was far too pink, predictable and silly but I would be foolish to deny that it wasn’t simply polished, clever and funny and endearing in all the best ways possible.
Elle is played by Carley Stenson, a lady with a mighty endurance test on her hands, as does any actress who takes on this role. Elle is barely off the stage for the show’s entire two and a half hour run, save costume changes.
The show opens with the slightly anthemic almost mantra-like for any teenage girl in love, “Oh My God, you guys!”. You can almost feel the men of the world begin to squirm as window shutters and flung open and the lyrics belted out with the high pitched excitement of the chorus. Maybe it was the pre-show glass of wine to ease myself into my seat but this engaging opening number was where the standard stayed for the rest of the evening and took hold of me, Stenson’s performance as Elle almost making me feel as if all was right with the world.
She is ably supported by the rest of the cast, Greek chorus included, quite possibly the hardest working chorus in the West End, they jump and dance and sing with such believable enthusiasm.
Much kudos to Aoife Mulholland, plays fiesty jailbird Brooke, Elle’s make-or-break-case but which also allows for one of the most impressive dance numbers, complete with skipping ropes (!), Whip Into Shape, where timing by all involved is absolutely flawless. I was left wondered how Aoife, in her tight crop top could ever have been considered for the role of Maria, all those years ago, and I more than understood why there is a Facebook page devoted to her abs alone.
Legally is every young girls dream and if my experiences are anything to go by, I’m very glad most in London appear to have seen it. The powers that be have spoken and the curtain has already fallen by the time I’ve got around to posting this but I can’t help but think I will deeply miss the lurid pink sign that has hung down one side of the Savoy Hotel for the last three years. Especially now that I have seen the all-signing, all-dancing, all-pink girly extravaganza that lies beneath.