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June 9, 2024

Review: Legally Blonde the Musical at Futures Theatre

Omigod you guys! Pulteney Grammar School have done it again with their musical Legally Blonde based on the 2001 film and novel by Amanda Brown, with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin.

Legally Blonde the Musical is a vibrant and high-energy show that captures the essence of the beloved story while adding its own unique flair. The musical is a delightful mix of humour, heart, and catchy tunes that leave audiences cheering for more.

The show tells the story of Elle Woods, a sorority girl who enrols at Harvard Law School to win back her ex-boyfriend Warner Huntington III. She discovers how her knowledge of the law can help others, and she successfully defends exercise queen Brooke Wyndham in a murder trial. Throughout the show, very few characters have faith in Elle, but she manages to surprise them when she defies expectations while staying true to herself.

With an unexpectedly difficult score, fun characters and story, Legally Blonde’s themes are still so relevant today, addressing judgement on appearances, femininity, and acceptance.

The famous opening number ‘Omigod You Guys’ with its amazing choreography and upbeat vocals, set the tone for the night, with masses of pink performers revealed once the drape was whisked away.

Director Jo Casson and choreographer Rosanna Dobre, the formidable team, understood the assignment, with incredible stagecraft, direction, and dance sequences throughout – not a misstep to be had! Considering they were working with a cast of seemingly thousands, and some with no theatre experience, they did a tremendous job.

I especially enjoyed the skip rope jumping number ‘Whipped Into Shape’ and the Riverdance spoof ‘Ireland’ woven through!

The feel-good formula of ballads of self-empowerment was under the expertise of Musical Director Jonathon Rice; a difficult task to have young, developing voices sing this score, and sometimes they missed the mark, but a self-reminder that these are fledgling performers still honing their craft.

Set by Chris Hill and lighting by Campbell Lawrence took us to every shade of pink, with innovative set changes and effective lighting techniques complimented by the outstanding digital media and design by Richard Austin. The costume team should be commended, as all were slick and true to the original with insanely quick changes throughout!

The stars of the show were the remarkable principal and featured cast.

Liam Goodes, as Warner, played the suave and opportunistic ex-boyfriend of Elle with ease and charisma. His performance highlights Warner’s superficial charm and underlying selfishness.

Playing Vivienne, Elle’s legal arch nemesis and Warner’s new girlfriend, was Addison Ritossa – her portrayal is nuanced, evolving from icy and competitive to supportive and strong. Her performance in “Legally Blonde Remix” underscores her character’s growth and the breaking of preconceived notions.

The smarmy, chauvinistic professor Callahan who sings of the law in a beautiful baritone is played very well by Henry Tran. His depiction is suitably intimidating and manipulative, especially in the song “Blood in the Water,” which chillingly conveys his ruthless nature.

Meanwhile Bear Bridges [Bruiser] and Mojo Katz [Rufus] stole the show anytime they entered the stage. Yes, real dogs playing real dogs!

Sophie Fonovic brought the big-hearted hairdresser Paulette Buonufonte to life and belted out some doozies in ‘Ireland’ and ‘Find My Way’ along with Max Boucher who played the hunky delivery man Kyle to a tea. Their scenes definitely brought the laughs!

Emerson McClurg as the aerobics/fitness guru Brooke Wyndham on trial for murder was solid. While her vocals were not as strong as others, her stage presence, stamina, and dance ability in ‘Whipped into Shape’ along with the ensemble, was to be admired!

Maggie Bridges, Polly Schubert and Nektaria Mavragelos played the Greek chorus, sorority sisters Margot, Serena and Pilar respectively with perfection – their comedic timing impeccable. Their performances in numbers like “Positive” and “Bend and Snap” added layers of fun and camaraderie.

Patrick Longden’s interpretation of Emmett is endearing, bringing warmth and sincerity to the character. His chemistry with Elle is palpable, particularly in the song “Chip on My Shoulder,” where Emmett encourages Elle to embrace her potential.

The standout, without a doubt, was Taylor Schwartz as the sunny, strong-willed and peppy UCLA Valley girl Elle Woods.

The heart and soul of the show, Elle is portrayed as both charmingly naive and fiercely determined. Schwartz’s performance captures Elle’s infectious enthusiasm and underlying vulnerability, making her transformation from a lovelorn girl to a confident lawyer believable and inspiring. Her vocal performance in songs like “So Much Better” and “Legally Blonde” were both powerful and emotionally charged. Her understanding of Elle was spot on and her relationship and connection to Longden’s Emmett was beautiful to watch unfold. She had charm and charisma and was the perfect casting!

With high energy, thrilling choreography, great vocals and a little moral tied in for good measure, this show is another fabulous Pulteney Grammar production!

So, grab your Delta Nu sisters, a Red Bull for good measure and skip on over to see it!


Lia Loves.


Lia Loves
Lia Loves
Theatre. Dance. Culture. Events. Follow her adventures as Adelaide's premier theatre buff, arts contributor, educator and ambassador!

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