“I see a woman may be made a fool, If she had not a spirit to resist.” Act III, Scene II, The Taming of the Shrew
From its first showing in 2007 Broadway, Legally Blonde is still a hit musical- but why?
It certainly has the feel good factor. As the curtains began to draw, the audience not able to stay any longer in their seats leapt up for a standing ovation. The remix of songs, tight and crisp were belted out by cast and audience alike. The performance drew to an end and we said farewell to Elle and her new boyfriend Emmett, who in his and hers sparkling outfits set off for their bright law careers and pink fluffy lives together. A perfect pink ending.
Lucie Jones, a previous X factor finalist and this year's UK Eurovision contest representative, played Elle Woods. Whilst the soft vulnerability of her voice was perfect for the slower and softer ballads, it did get overshadowed by the other performers during the more highly intense songs. Instead, the Sorority Gals/Greek Chorus and Paulette definitely stole the show. With their sharp harmonising, slick choreography and witty one liners, they left the audience on a high. Elle's number one fan hairdresser Paulette, played by East-enders star Rita Simons, had such a great stage presence, brilliant comic timing and one huge voice.
Yet whilst the musical had some star names in it, it just didn’t quite gel together for me. I wasn’t pulled into Elle’s world of sorority and scented pink paper; I wasn’t convinced that she was really at Harvard for ‘love’ in order to prove herself to Warner; I couldn’t see any chemistry between her and new boyfriend Emmett on stage. But it wasn't because it was unbelievable. Amanda Walker, the author of Legally Blonde, based the character Elle and her exploits on her own personal experiences in law school. So whilst I sang as loudly as any of the members of the audience, left with ‘Omigod you guys’ still ringing in my ears and the ‘Bend and Snap’ technique mentally noted to use in the foreseeable future (perhaps not!) , I can’t say I was amazed. Not to say it wasn’t good fun -it was- it’s just that we’ve been there before!
But if you are after something which has the feel good factor, want a sing-along and like a good bit of cheese, then give it a shot. As long as, to quote Elle, you ‘just be yourself and do it with style’.
Olivia Rutherford, History Student