Legally Blonde – theSpace @ Niddry Street

Lyrics & Book by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin

Directed by Craig Inglis-McDonald

Rating: 4 out of 5.

“Omigod, omigod, you guys!” Stage Avenue presents a fabulous production of Legally Blonde the Musical, “What? Like, it’s hard?”

Following Elle Woods on her journey to find love but ultimately finding herself at Harvard Law School, the well-known story is told through the Laurence O’Keefe and Neil Benjamin music and lyrics.

The truly dynamic and iconic character Elle Woods was portrayed by Kathryn Johnstone, who succeeded in bringing sincerity and vulnerability that made the character more relatable. One of the highlights of the production was Johnstone’s extensive repertoire of facial expressions, which brought life to the character and laughs to the audience. Johnstone was able to showcase her vocal talent and show the range of the role, particularly in the song “Legally Blonde” with a slower and more emotional reprise.

The performance of Steve Grant’s Emmett was loyal to the silver screen while bringing in elements of backstory and heart that deepened the audience’s understanding of the character’s motivation, especially during Grant’s rendition of “Chip on my Shoulder”.

Offering comedic relief was Jennifer Healy’s Paulette, whose burgeoning romance with UPS delivery man Kye, portrayed by Andrew Brien, gave the audience a side plot to root for. Daniel Inglis-McDonald’s Warner was suitably arrogant but was somewhat overshadowed by Kirsten MacDonald’s portrayal of mean girl Vivienne and the developmental arc of her character’s relationship with Elle.

The rest of the cast, including the four Greek muses, helped maintain the high energy and enthusiasm of the production and the dancing talent on display, especially in the “Whipped into Shape” number, was particularly powerful. The staging of the production, while minimal, was used to effectively transition between scenes and provide the tools with the talented cast needed to absorb the audience into Elle’s world. The costuming of the entire cast captured the essence of the colour and iconic style of the original film.

It is a challenge to take such a beloved film and present a musical version that lives up to the expectations of the audience, and in this respect, Stage Avenue has succeeded “Snaps!”

‘Beloved film, beloved production’

Legally Blonde runs at theSpace @ Niddry Street until August 13th.

Tickets for which may be obtained here.

By Mhairi Sime

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