Theatre review: Legally Blonde The Musical

Posted on: 14 January 2010 by Mark O'haire

Laurence Green reviews the Hollywood movie smash turned West End stage production of Legally Blonde at the Savoy Theatre.

The fashion for transposing hit Hollywood movies from the screen to the stage following the success of Dirty Dancing, Grease and Hairspray continues apace with Legally Blonde The Musical (Savoy Theatre), directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell and with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin.

College sweetheart and homecoming queen, the ditsy, bubbly blonde Ellie Woods refuses to take no for an answer. So when her boyfriend Warner dumps her for someone else, Ellie puts down the credit card, hit’s the books, and heads for Harvard Law School in an attempt to win him back.

I know comparisons are invidious but I was constantly reminded of a rather similar but better show Hairspray, which, incidentally, was also choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, and adapted for the stage from a non-musical film. Both feature spunky female protagonists who fight their corners - and win! But whereas Hairspray has a great sense of involvement, a rich vein of humour, and a catchy score, Legally Blonde is a frivolous musical comedy that left me rather cold. True it does take off in the second act and ceases to be more candyfloss. It also has some lively, energetic dance routines. But the score is forgettable and the lyrics somewhat bland, rhyming “me” with “be”, “shoulder” with “bolder” and “fail” with “prevail”.

The musical’s main asset is a winning central performance from a shrill but likeable Sheridan Smith, whom television viewers will best know for her performances in Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, Lark Rise to Candleford, Benidorm and Gavin and Stacey, as the feisty heroine.

If you like your musicals colourful and sugar-coated, then this is the one for you!

By Laurence Green

Where: Savoy Theatre

Box Office: 0844 871 7687

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