City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Legally Blonde Review

By Gordon Clayton - Posted on 08 September 2011

Legally Blonde Elle Woods (Faye Brookes) and cast
Show Details
Faye Brookes (Elle), Liz McClarnon (Paulette), Dave Willets (Callahan), Iwan Lewis (Emmet), Neil Toon (Warner)
Running time: 

In the pink with Legally Blonde! As the memories of the Edinburgh Festival fade, the good, bad and the ugly of productions and culture give way to a show whose roots are clearly rooted in the U.S.A..This musical is the stage version of a ‘chick flick’ which was well received by a predominantly female audience on opening night at the Edinburgh Playhouse.

Faye Brooks is perfectly cast as the blonde heroine Elle Woods with her uncanny resemblance to the same character in the original film starring Reece Witherspoon. Unlike her celluloid counterpart, Faye is required to sing the majority of numbers in the show while carrying out some intricate and energetic moves. Throw in some acting and dog handling and it results in a performance that is very much the leading lady.

Liz McClarnon, formerly of Atomic Kitten shows her musical theatre credentials playing the quirky Paulette Buonufonté while one of the best known names from the West End Dave Willetts plays Professor Callahan.

The numbers he gets are not Les Mis. quality and while an important part in the story, his character is in too few scenes for such a big name. Iwan Lewis as Emmet is a good foil for ‘Elle’ and looks the part in everything he does with special mention for ‘Take it like a Man’.

Legally Blonde is a musical with music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin and book by Heather Hach and tells the story of sorority president, Elle Woods, whose main thoughts as the show opens are about her love life and clothes particularly the dream dress for her engagement party.

Unfortunately the object of her affections (Warner Huntingdon 111 played by Neil Toon) decides to break up with her as he needs someone more’ serious’. Elle decides to win him back by embarking on a law career that involves following him to Harvard where she enrols in Business School. With her pink outfits and blonde hair and some light-weight opinions, she soon is the object of ridicule by her classmates (including Warner’s new girlfriend Vivienne played by Charlotte Harwood) all vying for an internship with Professor Callahan’s law firm.

The sub-plot involving a hair salon gives the cast an opportunity for some amusing scenes where Kyle (Lewis Griffiths) is to the fore much to the delight of the ladies. The ‘Irish’ routine is worth looking out for! Elle shows her worth as a legal eagle in defending exercise guru ‘Brooke’ played by Hannah Grover who makes a big impression in ‘Whipped into Shape'.

Eavesdropping on the way out, I heard someone saying the cast were as good as the London show and only some change in the staging was the only difference. The staging while simple was enhanced by excellent lighting and a fantastic prison backcloth. Add in a proper orchestra and you had the full West End experience. Although likened to ‘Hairspray’ the songs are not as catchy but the lyrics carry the story and at least one number was being sung by a member of the audience going down Leith Walk.

Runs to Saturday 17 September ( 7.30pm & Matinees wed ,Sat @ 2.30pm)