Review: Legally Blonde The Musical, Belper

Legally Blonde is the ultimate feel good musical and there is definitely more to it than you might at first think.

Yes, it has a ridiculously cheesy storyline, but the show itself is cleverly put together with toe-tapping score and plenty of catchy songs.

The musical, based on the hit chick-flick starring Reese Witherspoon, was a success on Broadway and in the West End and hasn’t yet been tackled by many amateur groups.

But the award-winning members of the Belper Musical Theatre love a challenge so it was only a matter of time before they gave it a go.

The result was a triumph and the cast practically received a standing ovation from the appreciative audience – many of whom I suspect had already seen the film and the musical a few times.

Legally Blonde tells the tale of pink-loving, chihuahua-carrying, Delta Nu Sorority president, Elle Woods’ quest to win back her ex-boyfriend Warner played by Andrew Buxton, by getting into Harvard Law School.

At first things don’t exactly go to plan and ditzy Elle, played by Jess Hutton, finds he has a new girlfriend, Vivienne (Georgie Bond) and that Harvard is a little tougher than she expected.

With some help and inspiration from hairdresser Paulette (Sarah Stone) and young attorney, Emmett, (Tom Stanley) Elle ends up coming out on top by using her expertise on fashion and cosmetics to crack the case of  celebrity fitness queen Brooke Wyndham (Jen Lewis), who has been accused of murdering her husband. And the moral is that Elle achieves it while maintaining her ‘all-pink’ persona and not changing a thing.

The star of the show was undoubtedly Jess in the high-energy, demanding title role. She barely left the stage and was outstanding throughout.

She had a strong voice and confident stage presence and a beautiful beaming smile just perfect for the part.

The musical Theatre’s current chairman Sarah Stone stole some of the best lines and songs in the supporting role of Paulette and received one of the biggest cheers from the audience.

Her flirtation with the delivery man Kyle played by the hilarious Mark Jennison was superbly entertaining.

There were many spirited, face-paced dance routines but the most memorable has to have been the skipping rope scene starring the show’s director Jen Lewis as Brooke. It makes me breathless thinking about it.

The set may have looked simple but it was deceptively complicated and needed an on-the-ball stage crew to keep up with the many changes.

As for the music – well as always the musical director Dave Adey and his team excelled themselves.

If you want to watch a show that sees you leaving the theatre with a spring in your step and a happy tune on your lips then go and see Legally Blonde The Musical at Belper Community Theatre, Belper School  – it is on until Saturday. For tickets go to http://www.belpermusicaltheatre.co.uk

It is also at the Guildhall Theatre, Derby from March 2-5. For tickets go to http://www.derbylive.co.uk

The rest of the cast were Chris Grantham, professor Callahan; Stacey Hyndman, Margot; Sharon Stringer, Serena; Kat Adey, Pilar; Reuben Dykes, Lucy Taylor, Andrew Smyth, Katy Varney, Ava-Grace Fisher, Remi Hines, David Orange, Paula Winning, Ian Jennison, Nicola Slack, Stephen Langton, Alison Walker, Jan Outram, Sharon Green and Gill Hutton. Also the two dogs Otis as Bruiser and Harley as Rufus.

The orchestra was Dave Adey, Jonathon Jarvis, Jon Orton, Tim Wright, Jeff Widdowson and Mark Davis.

The stage manager was Lucy Hassall; stage crew, Andy Winning, Andy Boles, Eliot Cholerton-Hill, Mike Smith; artist design, Carolyn Hardy; set design and build, Ian Jennison assisted by Elizabeth Brookes, Richard Poole and Andy Winning; lighting and sound, Paul Frost, Nigel Johnson, Jamie Vella and Henry Pratt; projection Darren Salt and Mark Jennison; props, Pete Neale and Katy Neale; wardrobe mistress, Mary Jackson assisted by Judith Marsden, Helen Allsop, Rachel Allsop and Val Stone; programme Matthew Shaw; front of house Helen Beastall and tickets Jan Outram.