I have been looking forward to this for quite sometime. My first experience of Legally Blonde came through the 2007 recording of the Broadway production, which was shown on MTV. Honestly, this production has the most amazing cast, including Laura Bell Bundy and Christian Borle, and so I knew that my expectations were quite high. However this production not only came up to my expectations but it is also based on the West End production, and so the differences in come of the lyrics certainly kept me on my toes.
This production certainly did not disappoint me at all. Obviously this is mainly down to the cast whose acting skills and signing abilities certainly held up this big show. Legally Blonde is a show with a heavy emphasis on comedy, big notes, and carefully acted scenes. I think that these are the areas where this cast really excelled including, but not by any means limited to, Phoebe Jones (Elle Woods), Matt Price (Emmett Forest) and Jessica Doolan (Paulette Bonafonté) continually showed excellent vocal ranges combines with their acting skill. Even the acting of the minor characters held up to the standard of the principles, my favourite example of this being the excellent ending of ‘Gay or European?’ which is one of the show’s most popular songs. Two very special doggy members of the cast also made a particularly adorable impression on the audience which was very refreshing and different.
I was also impressed by the polished nature of the choreography and the hard work put in by the cast was clearly seen in these moments especially. The amount that they had to learn for this production is clearly shown to the audience throughout the show. On top of this I found that the overall design of the production in the set pieces and the costumes fitted together and the overall effect was very pleasing to see. It’s very satisfying as an audience member to see all of these aspects come together in a production which has had so much hard work invested into it.
The high quality of the orchestra was mainly apparent and needed during the scene transitions. As this was opening night I was expecting there to be some teething problems as it happens to everyone on an opening night. Tonight this was seen in some of the scene transitions which took longer than normal. However this is fine especially due to the level of the orchestra. However, the issue came when scene transitions were happening behind a character singing at the front of the stage as the volume of the activity behind the curtain could be heard over the singing. I completely understand that these are simply opening night teething problems and I’m sure that as the show is run these issues with smooth out.
Another opening night teething problem, which I have seen in numerous other productions at the Dolman Theatre, was the microphones. I have always had to prepare myself for microphone issues when going to see a show at the Dolman and so I am not blaming the cast, however volume drops are felt the most in a show like Legally Blonde. Legally Blonde relies on sarcastic comic timing in both the songs and the spoken dialogue and this is not limited to the principle roles, a lot of this is done by secondary and minor characters. However due to either microphones not being turned on in time or secondary and minor characters not having them, the lines they were attempting to say were hardly audible at all. This really did harm the action, especially when Brook Wyndham’s lines in ‘Legally Blonde – Remix’ were not audible, and some of the comic affects of the dialogue. Honestly I think that this was the largest problem with the production however luckily it did not affect the principle characters while they sang duets or belted their solo numbers.
Overall, this production has a great basis in the story and all of the components from the cast to the set design come together for a very enjoyable night. The technical issues will be solved in time but the major components of this production and the company easily outweigh these issues. I would highly recommend seeing this production, but if you can’t catch this one you should certainly keep an eye out for WAWWA’s future productions, they won’t disappoint you.