Sophie Arthur

LUST’s ‘Legally Blonde’ Theatre Review

‘Legally Blonde – The Musical’ follows the story of Elle Woods (Ellen Duguid) who, following her break-up from Warner Huntington III (Sam Nixon), decides to get herself a place at Harvard Law School to win him back. While Miss Woods most certainly does the former with the loyalty and support of her true friends, it doesn’t take too long for her to realise she’s better off without Warner in this fun and light-hearted musical. With a storyline that champions the underdog, fights harmful stereotypes and empowers those around you, it’s surely a must-see show.

It’s no coincidence that Ellen Duguid was made the star of the show. Her impeccable vocals and bubbly personality shine through from the stage to the audience. All this, paired with the way she supports the other characters and actors around her, simply makes her performance sparkle even brighter! Not only were Mia Gregory (Serena), Olivia Webster (Margot) and Annabelle Lee (Pilar) stars in their own right but they matched and supported Ellen perfectly and led the ensemble with a brilliant wit and humour suitable for any West End stage. Who wouldn’t want friends like them? When Jack Gloyens as Emmett Forrest and Molly Darracott as Paulette join Elle’s support network, the team only grows in strength and it surely says of a lot of both Miss Woods and Miss Duguid that they both have such a huge amount of support from those around.

The entire supporting cast were incredible in their own right and each of them deserves to be mentioned individually if only there were time! Performances from Jack Gloyens, George Robertson (Professor Callahan), Taylor Anne Henwood (Vivienne Kensington) and Elly Hinchsliff (Enid Hoopes) in the courtrooms and law school showed them each to be amazing performers individually as well as in a team, while Molly Darracott’s performance as Paulette should be used as a template for comic timing the world over and was deserving of every laugh and more!

Hannah McWilliam’s distinct and upbeat choreography was impeccable as always. The whole group routines were a joy to watch, while other routines, impossible to any normal human, seemed to be a breeze for this superhuman cast and Rachel MacBryde’s singing and skipping is only one of many examples. But without doubt the loudest cheer went to Molly Darracott and Cameron Steen for their incredible Irish dancing, expertly backed up by the rest of the cast, it really was a sight not to be missed! A year on from her dance debut in ‘Our House’ there is still no doubt that McWilliam was made for choreography and we are so lucky to have her and her dances gracing our stage at the Stanley Theatre year on year.

With their own personal little touches of pink, the band powerfully accompanied the performance on stage. The musical talents of Co-Musical Director, O Smith and Jacob Curry, were evident and paired with the effortlessly strong vocals of the cast on stage, the music rang out around the whole theatre. The stunning vocals of Ellen Duguid and Molly Darracott had such a beautiful tone, flawlessly matched by the ensemble around them and as the audience left it was certain that both the music and the rest of the production would be stuck in their heads for quite some time!

Tor Smith a veteran of the LUST shows returned in style as producer of this phenomenal production. Everything from the costume, sets and lighting to the bright pink backdrop came together so apparently effortlessly they should be proud of this creation. Assisted by the backstage team, led by Ellie Myall and Lotte Ellemann, everything moved swiftly and seamlessly allowing the actors and performers to relax into their roles and give the performance of a lifetime.

Under the skilled and watchful eye of director Katya Chambers this production shines out in all its sparkly pink glory to give us the perfect, light-hearted break we all need! As her directorial debut, something that could easily go unnoticed unless you read the programme, Chambers led the show in style and her passion for the whole production shone through from every aspect. But after calling the audience to the witness stand, the verdict is clear, Legally Blonde, is one of the greatest LUST shows ever to grace the stage and the whole cast and crew should be so proud of what they’ve created. The whole production is easily worthy of stages like the Liverpool Empire or the Royal Court. Entirely worthy of the huge standing ovation from the audience, whoever got to see this show was in for a treat! As their final production of the year, all the familiar faces from LUST who leave this year can do so proud of the legacy they leave behind and, in the safe hands of the new LUSTies, I, for one, am so excited to see where they go next!

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