Legally Blonde: Regents Park Open Air Theatre, London
21st May 2022 (preview performance)
‘Oh my God you guys’ Elle Woods is back in London for a new production of the smash hit musical Legally Blonde. This time Elle will truly is return back to the sun as the show is in sunny Regents Park Open Air Theatre marking the theatre’s 90th anniversary celebrations.
Now, we all know the Elle Woods’ favourite colour is pink and this production has had a pink explosion. The costumes by Jean Chan are pink, pink and more pink. a dazzling array of various shades of pink complete with accessories. The Delta Nu girls are decked from head to toe a dazzling array of various shades of pink complete with glitzy accessories. Whilst not all of the costumes are all that flattering, they certainly are what you would associate with the stereotypical Delta Nu girls. The Harvard Law costumes in contrast reek of class and decorum, featuring a neutral palette. In a clever twist on the traditional orange boiler suits, this time the prison costumes are green which work well against the backdrop of trees at the open-air theatre. As you guessed it the stage, designed by Laura Hopkins, is pink too and interestingly the backdrop is actually Elle’s hair, although you could be mistaken for thinking it is a field of corn in some of the images. Complete with a hydraulic love heart, ball pit and various moving pieces, this set has to be one of the most ‘girly’ there is. At times the transitions feel slow however the stage is utilised well, particularly for some scenes such as during the song ‘Take It Like a Man’ and the court case scene.
The Legally Blonde cast is hugely diverse and challenges stereotypes. Courtney Bowman, as Elle Woods, is absolutely fantastic. Managing to mix her natural humour with outstanding vocals, she truly epitomises Elle Woods and modernises the character. Isaac Hesketh, Grace Mouat and Hannah Yun Chamberlain are super as the greek chorus. Lauren Drew stands out as Brooke, particularly for her energetic number ‘Whipped into Shape’ where she doesn’t even bat an eyelid despite jumping rope and belting ridiculously high notes at the same time! Michael Ahomka-Lindsay is fantastic as Emmett and his relationship with Elle Woods is excellent. His vocals in ‘Chip on my Shoulder’ really bring new energy into the song. The role of Paulette is played perfectly by Nadine Higgin, whose comedic qualities match those of her vocal abilities. Unusually, in this production the role of Bruiser and Rufus is played by human actors, a decision which may well split audience members but certainly gets a lot of laughs.
Legally Blonde is a thoroughly feel good show! It is hard to watch it and keep a straight face. Despite the improvements in equality for women since the original 2001 film there is still a lot to learn from this musical which champions resilience, optimism and the drive to succeed. Furthermore, by the way production’s choice of inclusive and diverse casting it also champions Elle’s message that ‘being true to yourself never goes out of style’. With its upbeat and catchy numbers by Lawrence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, audience members are sure to go home humming along and with a big smile on their faces.
Legally Blonde’s most recent production may not be to everyone’s taste, it has been updated in parts and things don’t always feel completely in keeping with the original story, however there is absolutely no doubt that this is a light-hearted, feel-good show will leave everyone grinning. A perfect show to kick off the summer!
Legally Blonde is playing at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre until 2nd July 2022. For information and tickets click here.
Photo Credit: Pamela Raith