Blondes Having More Fun 

Elle Woods (Faye Brookes) in triumphant mood as she leads the cast in Legally Blonde

Legally Blonde - the musical

The New Alexandra

****

THANKS to the stratospheric  success of  Glee it would be easy to think that Legally Blonde  is another one in the line of teeth dazzling, pom pom waving, teen angst musicals  that have sprung up in its sickly sweet wake.

Indeed, it would have been hard to cram more pink into the theatre foyer.  Just like the cutesy dogs it features, however, this show has pedigree and hot on the heels of its West End acclaim,  it seems likely to repeat its pulling power on tour.

Legally Blonde began life as a 2001 movie, starring Reese Witherspoon as Elle -  the all American  girl who seeks to win back her boyfriend's affections by becoming a lawyer at the esteemed University of Harvard -  thus proving she has brains as well as well as veneered teeth and great legs.

The story and characters were ripe for a musical version and, unsurprisingly, the stage version  premiered on Broadway in 2007.

Plot wise, it all fairly simple. Nice, home town  girl falls in love with dreamboat sweetheart. He dumps her. She vows to win him back by ‘bettering herself' at Amerca's top law school. Cue an assortment of characters - the reliable friend, the tough talking Senior Professor, the bitchy classmates, the lesbian (random, I know, but represented nethertheless ) and a parcel delivery man with an impressive package. Read into that what you will.

 "Faye Brookes is faultless as the eponymous blonde,  Elle Woods,  physically perfect and genuinely engaging throughout " Picture: Johan Persson

There are, of course, twists and turns in the story as Elle discovers more about who she really is and discovers new horizons on her judicial journey.

A generally impressive cast reveals some stand out performances. Faye Brookes is faultless as the eponymous blonde,  Elle Woods,  physically perfect and genuinely engaging throughout. Iwan Lewis shines as Elle's secret admirer, Emmett Forest and Dave Willetts gives an an air of measured  authority amidst his excitable students as Professor Callahan. The biggest laugh of the evening ‘sprung' from Lewis Griffiths  as Kyle - a UPS delivery man in no doubt of his sexuality.

A musical is only as good as its songs and there are plenty to choose from here. Most are appropriately high energy and sugar coated company numbers such as What You Want and  Whipped Into Shape . Others , like Blood in The Water take on a darker tone. Gay or European? is a question many of us have asked and emerges here as if from nowhere. Funny and gloriously non pc, nonetheless.

Legally Blonde is what it says on the tin. A feel good , roller coaster of a show packed full of beautiful people, cute dogs and more pink than you can shake a stick at. Catch it while you can. To 15-10-11

Tom Roberts

 

Stars who are menu driven

Ellie Woods' best friend Bruiser is really three best friends, Pringle, Pepsi and Breezer, all supplied by Cindy Newman who runs Animals Galore. 

In the film Bruiser was a Chihuahua but that has its problems on stage. On a movie set the trainer is behind the camera, eye to eye with his or her charges on stage the dogs are on their own with the star doing the trainers jobs. 

Cindy Newman of Animals Galore with her collection of real Bruisers

Newman said: “Training works on the basis of rewarding good behaviour with treats but Chihuahuas haven't got huge appetites, they don't particularly want to please and are also easily offended, sensitive souls.”

Easily offended, sensitive souls! Seems perfect for a career on stage . . .

So Bruiser was given a wider gene pool to swim in and is now cross-bred with Jack Russells. Newman said: “The dogs have got to cope with a new venue every fortnight and Jack Russells are a bit more tenacious.

“They are not so easily put off by things and also a lot greedier, which helps! “

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