Entertainment | Theatre Review: Legally Blonde @ The Lyceum, Sheffield

Although Legally Blonde has been around as a musical since 2007, until seeing it I'd only really encountered the songs 'Bend & Snap' and 'Positive', giving me the impression of a very fun and sassy musical but not piquing my interest in the way that the likes of Hamilton might. As I'm such a fan of the film, I was sceptical about it as a musical and worried it would follow the trend of churning a Broadway musical out of anything. But, as Elle Woods' character has such a sing-song chirp about her, it soon became clear how well Legally Blonde lends itself to the stage.

'Omigod You Guys' - an appropriate opener for my review, as well as the musical itself, as it certainly reflects my reaction to the musical. Standing at almost a whopping three hours, I had worried it would have to forcefully drag out the original 1.5 hour film plot and that pacing would become sluggish. I was very pleasantly surprised as the song and dance numbers kept the energy freshly sustained throughout the show and I certainly can't think how it could be made shorter without compromising the show's quality.

The show was wonderfully cast, with Bill Ward and Rita Simons absolutely nailing Callahan and Paulette, respectively. The two of them put their own great spin on the characters that went beyond the film. I found Ward's rendition of 'Blood in the Water' particularly chilling, with his stage presence asserting himself just enough to be the villain but without outshining Lucie Jones' Elle. Simons as Paulette had the ideal balance of comic relief and a serious character one can connect with, and I particularly enjoyed 'Bend & Snap' for its narrative of a group of women coming together to help build Paulette's confidence: keeping the kind of girl power that I loved so much about the 2001 film.

The dancing was impeccable, particularly the skipping routine in 'Whipped Into Shape' which had my mother and I astounded purely at the level of physical fitness and dexterity on display. My favourite thing about dance numbers such as 'What You Want' and 'Legally Blonde Remix' is that the cast clearly had so much fun doing it and their sense of fun really was infectious.

I was delighted to see that the musical didn't lean too heavily on the film and Emmett and Vivienne were particularly great to watch with the developed complexity of their characters. Emmett's backstory as an underprivileged boy grateful for and driven by the chance he's been given was particularly heartwarming. Vivienne's character arc was also much more satisfying than in the film, as she directly apologised to Elle this time and then went and empowered her in the fantastic 'Legally Blonde Remix'.

Lucie Jones was absolutely fantastic, she had such incredible energy as Elle and really filled the pink shoes of such a big character. I genuinely couldn't find a single fault in her performance as Elle, each line was delivered perfectly and she maintained a great nuance between Elle's outward sass and her internal insecurities.

Overall, beautiful costumes, outstanding choreography and brilliant performances all round made for a wonderful night at the theatre that captured my li'l feminist heart.

Thanks for reading!
Photo credit: Robert Workman

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