I was in Manchester for a work trip this week, and while I was there, Legally Blonde the Musical happened to be touring there! I have been wanting to see it for ages so I planned my entire return trip around this show. And BOY I was right too!
The UK tour of Legally Blonde: The Musical has just ended (sob) at the Manchester Palace Theatre, based on the 2001 hit movie Legally Blonde starring Reese Witherspoon as pink loving law student Elle Woods. When I was younger, I adored the film and it’s sequel (it’s a love affair that has persisted into adulthood), I wanted to have Elle Wood’s confidence. My younger sister was not impressed that I wasn’t able to take her to LB:TM as well, but I have no regrets. If you don’t know, Legally Blonde is about a Californian sorority girl who is dumped by her boyfriend because he needs a “serious” girlfriend now he is going to Harvard Law. Elle decides to get into Harvard and get her man back. Harvard isn’t like her university, but she eventually adapts to Boston and Law School with the help of hairdresser friend Paulette. She ends up kicking ass, getting onto a highly prized internship defending a fitness queen in a murder trial.
I’m going to say, right out, that I absolutely adored this production. It was well paced and entertaining, with a lot of pink, and an overabundance of sass (you should listen to chip on my shoulder) and two dogs. Elle (Lucie Jones – according to the tour page, I didn’t get a programme unfortunately) starts off determined and very giggly, but she’s such a badass, especially when she works out that she is good at this law thing and it helps her help people. She quickly befriends a highly amusing Paulette (Rita Simons) and finds perhaps unexpected help from an upperclassman and TA Emmett Forest (David Barrett). I think what made this performance so good was how Elle interacts with the characters around her – especially Paulette and Emmett: Paulette was incredible, Emmett was actually adorkable.
Because the play is longer than the movie, some things were fleshed out – like Elle and Emmett’s relationship, mostly kick started by the song Chip on my Shoulder, with Emmett somehow tutoring Elle. The two become friends, and more than that, they clearly respect each other, and are so proud of each others achievements. When Callaghan’s Intern list is put up, Elle doesn’t check it because she is too busy celebrating with Emmett that he will be co-counsel. It is Emmett who directs her attention to the list. I don’t know if it’s just because I am such a hopeless romantic, but the parallels between Warner and Emmett (and how one pulls Elle down and the other holds her handback while she is awesome) are really clear, and they are just really freakin’ adorable. She takes him shopping for a suit and it’s just so cute. Their relationship in the musical is so well developed, and it is better than in the movies.
The soundtrack is really preppy and fun, the dances look downright exhausting, but everything was just so much fun, and it was honestly the best way I could possibly have ended a week. I am sad that the tour has ended, because I want to be able to take my sister to see it. As it is, we are stuck with the song clips from YouTube, which I have been playing constantly – it sounds so much better now I’ve seen the whole production! I wish it was still on so I could recommend any other musical theatre buffs who might be on the fence that they need to see Legally Blonde The Musical – it is a fantastic performance that leaves you feeling positively giddy with happiness at the end! As it is, I have to recommend the soundtrack and the clips on the video master site, YouTube.
This show has now made it into my top five all time favourites. I even bought merchandise! I never buy merchandise. I would happily have seen it multiple times. As it is, I am writing this proudly wearing a Gay or European? t-shirt, listening to the soundtrack (currently Chip on my shoulder, I think that might be my favourite song).