Before I begin, I should confess that I watched Legally Blonde after several glasses of very nice white wine. I shan’t over-apologise for that, though, because I think that might just be the perfect state in which to see it.
The good stuff first: it’s very energetic, and picks you up and drags you along with it at a lively pace from the first minute. The cast are mostly rather stage-schoolish, but that’s what you need for a show like this, which doesn’t have individual stand-out musical numbers or very much light and shade, but rather blinds you for two hours with a lightning bolt of pure exuberance. Almost everyone works incredibly hard, because most of the characters have to act, sing and dance their (pink) socks off.
Sheridan Smith, as our heroine Elle Woods, has a lovely singing voice (I saw her a couple of years ago in Little Shop of Horrors and she made a perfect Audrey) and is a good comic actress with excellent timing and physical presence. I’m not sure she quite has the innocence that would have made me sympathetic to the character enough to mind about what happens to her, but as I said, it’s more about the spectacle than the story, so that probably doesn’t matter.
For me, the surprise star of the evening was Jill Halfpenny as Elle’s beleaguered friend Paulette the hairdresser, whom I found instantly more believable and likeable and affecting than Elle or anyone else. I was so taken with her that I even copied her outfit the next day, though you probably don’t need to know that.
There are some fairly gaping plot holes, which may be explained in the film but since I haven’t seen it I can’t say. Again, it doesn’t really matter, but I wonder that it wasn’t picked up on in the previews and amended. I shan’t spoil anything here in any case. It was a fun night out, and perfect for a hen party, which coincidentally was what we were.
In summary: exactly as good as it needs to be.