MUSIC OWL AWARDS: 5th – to go to with friends
When I went: 5 July 2010 and 25 June 2011
Location: Savoy Theatre, London
Performers: 2010: Sheridan Smith (Elle), Alex Gaumond (Emmett), Peter Davison (Callahan); 2011: Susan McFadden (Elle), Alex Gaumond (Emmett), Denise Van Outen (Paulette), Peter Davison (Callahan), Siobhan Dillon (Vivienne), Aoife Mulholland (Brooke)
Creative team: Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin (music and lyrics), Heather Hach (book), Jerry Mitchell (director and choreographer)
Approximate price: £60
Special points: Comedy, feel-good factor
Best bit: There! Right There! / Whipped Into Shape
If I could change one thing: More sophisticated songs
Legally Blonde is probably the most fun musical out there. Sure, the music doesn’t have the gravitas of Chicago or Phantom, but the comedy elements are pitch-perfect and with the right performances you get a good helping of charm and deeper meaning as well.
The story follows the Reese Witherspoon film fairly closely, tracking Elle Woods as she follows her ex-boyfriend to Harvard Law School and discovers her own qualities along the way, and also borrows its sugar-sweet tone, which could be grating if you weren’t in the right mood. However, standout songs like There! Right There! and Whipped Into Shape help to justify the musical treatment of the plot.
This is one of the shows that will provide a great night out for friends – as long as they are a) into musical theatre b) not put off by a lack of darkness or grit.
Sheridan Smith was adorably quirky in the 2010 performance and Alex Gaumond and Peter Davison very ably supported both leading ladies in the two performances that I saw. Denise Van Outen was polished as Paulette in the 2011 performance, but I did question whether she was old enough for the role. I was also pleased to see two of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s protégées from the BBC shows How do you Solve a Problem Like Maria – Siobhan Dillon and Aoife Mulholland – taking on the roles of Vivienne and Brooke respectively.