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Review: Legally Blonde at The Arts Theatre

Omigod you guys! If you haven’t had enough pink with the Barbie movie, then head over to The Arts Theatre to soak in Pelican Productions’ Legally Blonde The Musical!

Based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the 2001 MGM motion picture, with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, this revival is true to the original Broadway version.

Premiering in 2007, the film was adapted into a Broadway and West End musical of the same name, nominated for five Laurence Olivier Awards, winning three, including Best Musical, in 2010.

The show tells the story of Elle Woods, a sorority girl who enrols at Harvard Law School to win back her ex-boyfriend Warner. 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.

A surprisingly 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, and we knew we were in for a show of raucous fun!

Director Adam Goodburn and Choreographer Shenayde Wilkinson-Sarti understood the assignment, with incredible stagecraft, direction, and dance sequences throughout – not a misstep to be had!

Especially the touches of choreographic wit in the hip hop dancing Malibu rich kids, the skip rope jumping number and the Riverdance spoof woven through!

The feel-good formula of ballads of self-empowerment was under the expertise of Musical Director Ben Francis; 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 Jason Dew and the Molineux family and lighting by Campbell Lawrence and Jen Frith, took us every shade of pink, innovative set changes and effective lighting techniques complimented by the superlative Vision Design and Animation by Ray Cullen. Costume design by Kylie Green was slick and true to the original with insanely quick changes throughout!

The stars of the show were the remarkable principal and ensemble Bruiser cast.

Ris Mosel, as Warner, played the suave and opportunistic ex-boyfriend of Elle with ease and charisma.

Playing Vivienne, Elle’s legal arch nemesis and Warner’s new girlfriend, was Courtney Richardson – a fantastic talent with pipes to match! Her scene with Elle in ‘Legally Blonde – Remix’ really showed her vocal range.

The smarmy, chauvinistic professor Callahan who sings of the law in Gilbert and Sullivan style is played very well by Scott Green, while JJ [Bruiser] and Fattee [Rufus] stole the show anytime they entered the stage. Yes, real dogs playing real dogs!

Sophie Morris brought the big-hearted hairdresser Paulette Buonufonte to life, along with Matthew Liersch who played the hunky delivery man Kyle to a tea. Their scenes definitely brought the laughs!

Amy Gallery 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!

Vasileia Markou, Isabelle Letic and Chloe Dowd played the Greek chorus, sorority sisters Pilar, Margot and Serena respectively with perfection – their comedic timing impeccable.

Special mention to Josh McDonald and Mathew Daniell, who played multiple characters throughout, but none funnier than Nikos and Carlos – these boys have a real talent for slapstick entertainment!

Teagan Garvey brought the sensitive, goofy, non-judgemental and encouraging Emmett to life with his exceptional acting ability and natural stage presence.

The standout for me was Immi Beattie as the sunny, strong-willed and peppy UCLA Valley girl Elle Woods. One of the stronger singers, her interpretation of Elle was spot on and her relationship and connection to Garvey’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 Pelican Production!

So grab your Delta Nu sisters, a Milky Way 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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