Originally shown on Broadway and brought over to the West End in early 2010, Legally Blonde is a musical based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the 2001 film of the same name, starring Reese Witherspoon. It ran for two years in the West End at the Savoy Theatre before closing on 7 April, 2012.
Legally Blonde tells the story of homecoming queen Elle Woods, who, when dumped by her boyfriend Warner for a smarter woman, decides to prove that she has what it takes intellectually by heading to Harvard Law School. Along the way she is looked down upon by her fellow classmates for her ditzy attitude and pink attire, but ultimately she proves Warner wrong in this new musical that will leave you in high spirits!
“I really tried to hate this show, but resistance is futile. It’s going to be a huge hit and if you’re a chap, your wife or girlfriend is almost certain to drag you along. You might as well give in gracefully now.”
Charles Spencer at the Daily Telegraph
“Blessed with the long upper lip of a natural comic, Smith sails buoyantly through the show with a radiant smile as if warning us not to take it too seriously. I can only report that the predominantly female audience with whom I saw the show seemed to be having a whale of a time and did not give a damn about the fact that the musical is little more than a nonsensical fairytale.”
Michael Billington at the Guardian
“It may not be quite as good as Hairspray (it lacks that show’s lovely, double-bluffing libertarian dimension), but it’s ridiculously enjoyable from start to finish and camp peroxide-perfection in terms of its showbiz roots.”
Paul Taylor at the Independent
Legally Blonde ReviewSheridan Smith wows the audiences with her performance of Elle Woods in West End musical, Legally Blonde
Review by Alice Bzowska, 21/09/2010 at the Savoy Theatre
Omigod, like, Legally Blonde was sooo totally not what I thought it was going to be! After watching the musical a few nights ago, I was pleasantly surprised at the high level of singing by all members of the cast, and Sheridan Smith shone through as the clear star of the show with her bright smile, cheery attitude and funny persona. As I walked through the lobby and into the auditorium, I was sceptical as to what the show was going to be like, thinking that the bright pink, fluffy merchandise equalled to a bright pink, fluffy show, which in some respects it does, but the funny script, heart-warming plot and charismatic characters (including the two real dogs that made a large proportion of the audience go ‘aww and ooh!’) make watching Legally Blonde in London’s West End a very enjoyable evening indeed.
The predominantly female audience clearly enjoyed the tale of a recently graduated home-coming queen Elle Woods, who, after being dumped by her ex, Warner, who wants someone more ‘serious’, sets off to Harvard Law School. She then decides to try to get in herself to win back his heart, and after being mocked and thrown out of her class several times due to her ditzy attitude, she ultimately shows that she is far more than just a ‘dumb blonde’.
Sheridan Smith, famous for her roles in TV sitcoms Gavin and Stacey and Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, smiled and cried her way through the show playing the lead of homecoming queen turned Harvard Law student Elle Woods, and was nearly always on stage for the 2 and a half hours that the show runs for. With 18 songs in the show, she sang 16 of them, and had boundless energy. Jill Halfpenny, previously an actress on Coronation Street, Byker Grove and for three years played Kate in Eastenders, performed a brilliant Paulette the beautician, and her vocals were the best in the auditorium. Richard Fleeshman who was a household name as Craig in Coronation Street also shone through, having recently taken over from Blue’s Duncan James in June of this year. His pompous charm and snooty manner definitely came across well, and even though he is considerably younger than most of the rest of the cast, he played a convincing Warner.
The highlight to me was the UPS guy who catches Paulette’s attention, with his suave demeanour and smooth walk which gets the audience laughing several times, not more so than when he breaks out into an Irish jig. This had me laughing and is an added feature to the musical, as it is not in the movie version.
Some of the songs are not very memorable and it is a cheesy, non-realistic modern fairytale, but for what it is, it is good, and I certainly enjoyed it. I think that the odd males dotted around the auditorium were submitting themselves to it by the end as well, as it truly is a feel-good and lovable story.
Legally Blonde is not a musical to be taken seriously, yet the story is heart-warming with a hilarious score of new songs written for the show. Lovers of the movie will not be disappointed as it is very similar to the 2001 film of the same name starring Hollywood actress Reese Witherspoon, with much of the dialogue being exactly like it is in the film. That being said, this is a very musical, musical, and it is made up entirely of constant singing, with little dialogue which itself is spoken in a very rhythmic way. The main song of the show ‘Omigod’ stood out as a fun, sing-a-long number, and I was still humming it by the time I had strolled down the Strand and into the tube station on my way home.