Legally Blonde: The Musical
WORDS BY NOAH VAZ
MUSE’s Legally Blonde: The Musical, takes its audience on the full-throttle, dangerous up-tempo journey that its writers, Laurence O’Keefe and Neil Benjamin, had intended. As a show that makes even Mardi Gras look conservative in its overuse of colour and glamour, the club’s 2016 major production immediately thrusts you into a world that can only be described as “wow omg crazy lol wow”, guiltlessly feeding your inner white girl.
The story of a naïve blonde girl, skipping into the halls of Harvard has always struck a chord with me — I too have shared the struggles of being a minority law student (Note to self: ‘Legally Brown’? Possible production idea). However, the glitzy and ditsy production at the Seymour Centre is able to resonate with any member in the audience — the story of the underdog succeeding.
The budgeted costuming too could be construed as simplistic, but still managed to capture the pink and bubbly spirit of the show.
From the opening, the MUSE cast manages to bombard the audience with a pastiche of musical styles: enthusiastic pop; slow choral style melodies; and soaring Les-Mis-style melodies — all executed with as much precision and calibre as expected of a university cast. There is little time to think, but the production’s overwhelming hilarity leaves the audience with a warm conviviality - a perfect remedy to soothe the post-mid-semester-break-blues. The large directorial and production team of Rielly Dickson, Oliver Cameron, Zara Stanton, Matt Hourigan and Shakira Wilson illuminates the magnitude of this giant production — also evidenced in the hundreds of hours contributed across the board from late last year.
In this well-cast production, the astoundingly brilliant Kiralee Elliott shines in the monster role of Elle Woods, a fashion-major from UCLA daring to strut the hallowed halls of Harvard Law. With a winning combination of her well-tempered vibrato and a commanding on-stage presence, she leads both her excellent ensemble and the audience into various waves of laughter, sadness and satisfaction as she seamlessly slips into the character with ease.
The astoundingly brilliant Kiralee Elliott shines in the monster role of Elle Woods, a fashion-major from UCLA daring to strut the hallowed halls of Harvard Law.
Elliott’s outstanding voice is complemented by those of her two on-stage Romantic interests: Emmett Forest and Warner Huntington III, played respectively by Logan McArthur and Gavin Brown. Both provide impressively rich tenor performances coupled with an entertaining and dedicated characterisation of the rivals. Special props are also to be given to Gabi Kelland who portrays Paulette, soothing the audience with a moment of calm in the beautiful ballad, ‘Ireland’.
Emmett Forest and Warner Huntington III, Elle’s two rival romantic love interests, are played respectively by Logan McArthur (right) and Gavin Brown (left).
The band’s consistency and exciting musical flourishes are the glue of this musical, maintaining the fast pop tempo, propping up the extraordinary vocals of the entire cast. This is mirrored in the dynamic choreography which — though unsurprisingly amateur at times — also wowed the audience with some high-octane, dangerously energetic sequences including skipping ropes, pirouettes, and of course, the Chihuahua. The budgeted costuming too could be construed as simplistic, but still managed to capture the pink and bubbly spirit of the show.
One last shout out goes to Aparna Balakumar, who assumed the mantle of securing ethnic representation in possibly the whitest musical in human existence. (And also did a great job).
All in all, the musical is a fun, non-too-thought-provoking, and certainly colourful sensory feast. Whilst the show may leave you with that feeling of “what did I just watch?”, the overwhelming answer in your mind will surely be “something pretty great”. MUSE can sleep tight with the knowledge that Legally Blonde will sit as yet another gem in its illustrious production history.
This review was written based on a preview of the show. Legally Blonde: The Musical opens on Wednesday, April 6th and runs for 4 nights until the 9th. Tickets are still available.