Legally Blonde

Date 25th November 2015
Society Starlight Theatre Productions
Venue Tyne Theatre, Newcastle
Type of Production Musical
Director Martyn Knight (assistant - Val Shield)
Musical Director Andrew Soulsby

Report

Author: Michael L.Avery

Once, there was a movie called “Pretty in Pink” which might have been the sub-title of this show.  Since the cast photographs went into circulation some months ago, pink was clearly going to feature strongly.  It certainly did.  Cheryl Moody, as leading lady Elle Woods, wore an outstanding shade of pink almost throughout.  Cheryl, and the colour pink, dominated throughout, exhibiting a flawless American accent, comic acting and timing which might be the envy of many a professional.  As you can tell, I was very impressed.
 
The show may be unfamiliar so a little background might be appropriate.  Based on a Reece Witherspoon movie, it tells the tale of student Elle, a queen in her own little world, who majors in Fashion!  However, when dumped by boyfriend Kevin Rhodes (playing Warner, the snob) before he goes off to Harvard to study Law, she determines to follow and prove herself worthy.  With the support of her girlfriends, who spend a lot of time dancing around in her mind, and Alex Easten (playing the diffident Emmett) she does just that – by which time her affections have transferred from Warner to Emmett. 

With 32 named parts, it is impossible to mention the entire cast individually.  I can say I did not spot a weak link and the show moved along briskly, under the baton of MD Andrew Soulsby, whose 12-piece orchestra supported the performers well throughout.  There were a couple of minutes at the beginning when the sound balance favoured the orchestra and it was difficult to follow the dialogue.  Fortunately, it was not difficult to catch up.

Nicola Hewett was excellent as beautician/friend Paulette.  I was very taken with her singing voice.  Steve Halliday, in a mainly acting role, was suitably authoritarian and sleazy as Professor Callaghan.  Alison Gilroy was an athletic murder suspect, Brook, who particularly impressed with an uncomfortable-looking tableau pose held for some considerable time without apparent quiver.  Caroline Sabiston was a suitably bitchy new girlfriend for Warner who changes allegiance to Elle after seeing the Professor trying to hit on her.  A final mention goes to a pair of shorts struggling to contain the cheeks of Stephen Mason, as a parcel delivery man, who/which elicited a couple of squeals from one less in-control section of the audience.  Smaller roles were handled well and added considerably to the show.

In addition to those credited with named parts, many of whom doubled as chorus members, there were an additional 18 members of the chorus, making up a big company of, I think, 50 people.  They all added to an impressive and entertaining production.  A final word or two to acknowledge the contributions of assistant director Val Shields and dance captain, Jenn Rouss who, I am sure, had much to do with making sure director Martyn Knight’s vision for the show hung together so seamlessly.