Sunday, November 14, 2010

Legally Blonde the Musical, Starring Sheridan Smith

I have never seen Legally Blonde the film, nor do I have any particular desire to do so, but when I heard the hype around Legally Blonde the Musical, I was intrigued to see what all the fuss was about. In fact it was Ant who first suggested we go and see it in the West End, having read Stephen Fry's enthusastic Twitter review. Of course I couldn't even consider going to such a thing without my dear pal and fellow lover of musicals, Damien. It took us the best part of year to get our arses in gear to get tickets and go up to Town, but last night we finally made it. 

After all the months of anticipation, the three of us were giddy to the point of hysteria when we met up at Brighton station yesterday lunchtime. Our excitement continued throughout the day as we made the most of the trip by taking in the René Gruau exhibition at Somerset House and indulging in a spot of window shopping around Covent Garden. After a bite to eat at my favourite little Moroccan haunt and drinks next door at the wondferfully rustic Beaujolais, we were just about fit to burst.

One of the most lauded things about the West End production of Legally Blonde the Musical is its current leading lady, Sheridan Smith. Having never seen Two Pints of Lager...  or indeed any of her other noted TV or stage performances, I had no expectations either way, but was duly impressed by her sparkling performance as Elle Woods. The rest of the cast were equally outstanding, giving it their all from start to finish and clearly relishing every bonkers minute of it. Someone else whose musical career has so far evaded me is Denise van Outen, who recently joined Legally Blonde as the hapless hairdresser Paulette. She, too, was surprisingly accomplished; I had no idea she could sing so well.

Of course I'd anticipated high camp and energetic dance numbers, but wasn't quite prepared for the bizarre, almost magical-realism dimension to the production (Riverdance? Talking dogs? WTF?). It was unashamedly and zealously inhabiting the World of Musicals and all the insane poetic license it allows. It was also genuinely very funny (think Glee/Sondheim-esque New York-Jewish humour) and at even  at times, moving. And I LOVED it. As I glanced either side of me at Damien and Ant's beaming faces, I could tell they did too. Feeling thoroughly entertained, we giggled and grinned all the way home (via a nightcap at my old student hang out the Retro Bar).

I defy anyone but the most cynical anti-musicalites not to enjoy Legally Blonde the Musical, and would especially recommended  it to anyone in need of a pick-me-up. The charming Sheridan Smith will only be in it for another few months, so hurry.
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