By Neil Durham
WORTH A LOOK?: ****1/2
WHEN?: Friday 13 May, opening 19 May and booking until 2 July 2022
RUNNING TIME?: 165 minutes (including a 20-minute interval)
This musical opens with our titular heroine Elle anticipating her boyfriend’s marriage proposal – and then being crushed when he actually breaks up with her.
- Read on for reasons including how Courtney Bowman rocks as Elle
She should have seen it coming because in 2nd song Serious the object of her affection, Warner, a suitably cocksure Alistair Toovey, interrupts Elle as she is about to duet with him explaining that he hasn’t finished iterating his motivations yet.
What’s a girl to do? Elle decides to brush herself off and follow him to law school where she encounters headstrong Emmett, played very seriously by Michael Ahomka-Lindsay, and dastardly tutor Callahan, a suitably oily Eugene McCoy.
We last saw this show at the Savoy where Sheridan Smith (Funny Girl, Menier and West End) played Elle winning an Olivier and while Courtney Bowman (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, West End) is never quite her equal she brings a streetwise sass to the role to distinguish it as her own.
Bowman is directed here by Lucy Moss who co-created SIX, which is still running in the West End and is shortlisted for 8 Tonys this year with Moss in the running for Best director of a musical.
There are occasional nods to SIX here with members of the ensemble appearing as a Greek chorus advising Elle what to do as she comes to realise how beneath her Warner is, how much she wants a successful legal career, how she can use her streetwise smarts to advance her career and how she won’t compromise.
We’re so close to the stage that 1 of the pink balls that litters it falls at our feet and we squirrel it in a pocket to take it home as a souvenir.
Laurence O’Keefe (Heathers, Other Palace) co-wrote the music and lyrics and this is probably the most successful of his work that we’ve seen because it is packed with so many memorable songs.
Who can’t help celebrating with Elle during So Much Better, shedding a tear with her during the moving title track and then punching the air at the show’s conclusion as we learn the various fates of the cast during show closer Find My Way?
Special mention for the progressive casting of both Allie Daniel and Isaac Hesketh in the ensemble which makes our hearts lift with joy.
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre is an absolutely magical venue on a glorious summer’s night as the sun comes down on the day and there’s probably nowhere more fabulous for a musical to be staged in the world when the elements are on the audience’s side.
An extra half star then for that – and this production of Legally Blonde is a joyful and very pink reimagining of a show that is 1 of our favourite musicals of all time.
- Pictures via Facebook courtesy Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre Tickets
- Have you heard any of these songs or seen any of these shows? Let us know what you thought in the comments below
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