Dave Bradley owner of 20 20 Exposure
Theatre review of Legally Blonde The Musical 22-08-2015
We were invited along to a production of Legally Blonde The Musical by the youth theatre group based at The Liverpool Empire on Saturday evening. The invite was from one of the cast, the delightful Georgia Mason who played Vivienne in the show.
It was the closing show on a two night appearance at The Empire which the production played to a packed house.
The show is based on the novel by Amanda Brown, which later became the smash hit Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer motion picture of the same name starring Reese Witherspoon as the central character Elle Woods.
At 7:30 we sat down in our seats surrounded by a packed house, programme in hand, getting ready to be entertained. We were not disappointed.
Right from the curtain up we were hit by a roller-coaster of action, fast paced and vibrant are understated words in this case. You didn’t have time to ease into it, it was there slap bang in your face, you were there with the characters right away. The story is pure cheese all the way through but extremely lovable and enjoyable cheese and this large and young cast took it by the neck and squeezed every inch of dialogue and fun out of it.
Their timings and cues were spot on, their harmonies and interactions with each other were flawless. The scene changes were oh so fluid and constant but didn’t detract in any way from the action we were watching on stage, if anything they added to the fast paced and overall energetic feel of the performance.
Credit also has to go to the two dogs who in their own little moments stole the show as well. Ironically the dogs are the most experienced in working on the show as they are the same two dogs who toured with the national production.
We had a slight and momentary distraction in the audience when one of the audience had a turn of some kind and collapsed in the seat. Understandably the rest of their party had to leave but it was done quite quickly and quietly. This didn’t in any way affect the pace of the show on stage as the cast were completely unaware of what had happened. All this was only in the first half!
On curtain up in the second half we were all geared up for more of the same sort of enthralling and very good acting and pitch perfect singing we had seen in the first half. Again we were not disappointed!
At first we had wrongly assumed that some cast members must be doubling up on characters / stage background or dancers, but we quickly realised that this wasn’t the case as more and more of the cast filled the stage.
The central character Elle Wood played by Ellie Clayton was so well balanced with the others characters in the way she played it. It’s so easy for such a strong and central character to dominate the show, but in this case it wasn’t and this allowed everyone else to shine and show their part. (spoiler allert lol) Elle’s arch nemesis Vivienne who in the end turns good was equally and powerfully played by our “invitee”, Georgia Mason. She blew our socks off, what a strong and confident voice!
As the show progressed we struggled to comprehend that what we were watching wasn’t being performed by fully fledged and experienced professional actors. These amateurs were outstanding in acting ability and vocal performance. Each one stars in the making.
It was evident just how hard they were working when after a couple of particularly fast paced, energetic numbers, of combined dancing and singing, that they were understandably breathing heavily. We’re pretty sure and older cast couldn’t have put the same amount of energy into the same thing.
Some of our favorite scenes have to be the court room and the beauty parlor, jam packed with one liners and so much fun.
The obvious climax the show was welcomed by us all with excitement. As the last number came to an end and time for a curtain call they were honor bound to do a total of four to a complete and resounding wave of applause and a very great full standing ovation.
This was an outstanding show, put on by an outstanding cast, all of which we are sure are bound for greater things.
We went to the stage door and greeted Georgia Mason (remember that name!), to thank her for inviting us along and to express how impressed we were. Clearly emotional after a great performance on the closing night, she thanked us for being there. She also told us how pleased and happy she had been and privileged to work with such a great cast, a lot of which had become really close friends. She also told us that some of the cast are now splitting up and going their different ways, working on stage, elsewhere in the country and some lucky enough to be going to work down in London on shows there.
We also briefly met the musical director Paul Lawton who also deserves an accolade not just for a solid performance but for the impeccable timing and perfect cues his band of musicians executed with the action on stage. No hesitation or missed cues, bang on the nail. Well done.
Choreographer Lauren Taylor did an amazing job with a cast of over 60. Seamlessly getting everyone where they needed to be, doing exactly what they should be doing at the right time. Some of the dance numbers seamed quite complex, but very well thought out and executed.
Lastly we must once again thank Geogia Mason, whom without her asking us along we would never have experienced what we could very easily describe as a very professional performance and a very entertaining evening delivered by all concerned – Thanks Georgia.