Legally Blonde: The Musical is a classic. It follows Elle, who lives a perfectly happy life with her Californian sorority sisters and Chihuahua. She abruptly falls out of her pink clouds when her boyfriend, Warner, dumps her. He thinks she is not ‘serious’ enough for him- a prospective Harvard Law student. So, to win Warner back, Elle decides to study at Harvard Law and prove her brilliance. Against all odds, she succeeds. Ultimately, Elle outperforms her class and ends up dispelling the prejudices that encumber blonde girls with an eye for fashion, evolving into a strong, independent woman. The plot is preposterous, but the show’s message—conveyed through its music—is not. Indeed, it is a tribute to badass feminism.
Given the high expectations attached to this classic, and the anticipation for student productions after two years without any, staging the show is no easy task. However, EUSOG’s production team, in their own words, utilised everything they had learned in their time as producers and directors to stage this show. At the red-carpeted Church Hill Theatre, the teams’ excitement to perform after four months of preparation is palpable.
The notorious first number, “Omigod You Guys”, starts energetically but is a bit overdrawn. The band is slightly out of tune. Fortunately, the cast’s musical performance made up for this. The solo performances and impeccable harmonies in ensemble songs are real jewels. For instance, Baldwin’s touching performance of the song “Ireland” captivates the audience. Comical and goofy interludes, such as the appearances of UPS guy Kyle (James Sharp) or the replacement of real dogs with stuffed animals, balances the vigorous temperament of the show. Each actor portrays their characters with a stunning and unique voice, most notably, Olivia Hall as Elle, Lizzie Baldwin as Paulette, and TJ Gardner in the role of Professor Callahan. Their impressive performances are further enhanced by powerful choreographies that oozes joy into the audience.
The second half of the musical picks up as the cast go over and beyond. Becky Maxwell’s compelling Brooke and Hall’s outstanding Elle treat the audience to female power on stage. Elle and Emmett (Connor Quinn) have magical chemistry when they are on stage together. Quinn’s performance does full justice to the character’s charisma. During these quieter, more melodic duets, the actors’ voices are at their best. This is apparent in numbers such as ‘Take It Like A Man’, which is convincing not only because of its musical performance but also because of the stage set and costume design. The beautiful ensemble piece “There! Right There!” and the finale songs are immensely graceful, as the cast found the right balance between the musical’s energetic power and touching grace.
There could not have been a better cast. Hall is spot-on throughout. Her performance draws the audience into Elle’s emotional stages as she goes through the process of owning herself and committing to her sisterhood. After bland months of pandemic, it is a pure joy to see the cast’s fruit of hard work light up the stage in dazzling colour.
The musical runs from the 25th to the 29th of January 2022 at 19:30, with an additional martinée performance on the 29th.
Image: Poster of Legally Blonde the Musical, Courtesy of EUSOG