Theatre Mirror Reviews - "LEGALLY BLOND"

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note: entire contents copyright 2016 by Tony Annicone



"LEGALLY BLONDE"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone



Company Theatre's latest blockbuster musical of the summer is "Legally Blonde, the Musical." This show is based on the novel by Amanda Brown and 2001 movie, "Legally Blonde." It tells the story of Elle Woods, a sorority girl from Delta Nu who is the college sweetheart and homecoming queen who doesn't take no for an answer. So when boyfriend, Warner dumps her for someone who is 'serious', Elle puts down the credit cards, hits the books and heads to Harvard Law School to win him back. Along the way, Elle proves that being true to yourself never goes out of style with equal parts hilarious and heartwarming. She discovers how her knowledge of the law can help others, defending Pauline against her common-law hubby as well as fitness guru, Brooke Wyndham from murder charges. Directors Zoe Bradford and Jordie Saucerman create a fantastic high energy contemporary musical with their keen insight into these comic characters while Sally Ashton Forrest's terrific dance numbers stop the show with their power and excellent execution and musical director Steve Bass taught all the musical numbers and excels while conducting a ten piece orchestra as well as playing lead keyboards. They provide their audience another musical masterpiece of a show with "Legally Blonde", capturing the hearts of the crowd from start to finish.

Zoe and Jordie's blocking of this epic show is marvelous and Sally's energetic dances include hip hop, cha cha, line dance, Irish dance, exercise with jump ropes, marching and conga to name a few. Her male and female dancers in this show are astounding with their dancing prowess. Two of the funniest dances are the exercise dance and the Irish Step dance segment. Steve obtains some beautiful harmonic blend from the cast and his splendid 13 piece orchestra. The stunning two story set and other set pieces are by Henry Beckvold and Ryan Barrow while the expert lighting of the show is by Adam Clark. Sarah Kelly marvelous as Elle. She is a gorgeous blonde and appears in almost every scene of this musical. Sarah makes the transition from blonde bubble head sorority girl into a novice lawyer beautifully. Her strong singing voice and strong dancing prowess astound the audience. Sarah's numbers include "Omigod You Guys" when she thinks she's getting engaged to Warner, "Daughter of Delta Nu" where she gets a pep talk from her sorority sisters, "What You Want" which sounds like "Right in Front of Your Eyes" from "Wedding Singer", where she sings her essay to get accepted at Harvard Law School, "So Much Better" when she receives good news at the end of Act 1, "Take It Like a Man" when she buys new clothes for Warner, "Bend and Snap" where she teaches Paulette how to attract the UPS man, "Legally Blonde", a tear jerking duet with Emmett which opens the floodgate of tears at her heartfelt rendition and "Find My Way" when Elle finally realizes what is important in her life and wins the day at last. Sarah receives a spontaneous standing ovation as her reward for her stunning hard work in this role. Brava!

Christopher Spencer plays Emmett, the law clerk who understands Elle's plight and tries to help her out. He is terrific in this role and sings "Harvard Variations" about how the students ended up at the Ivy League law school. This song sounds like Peron's song from "Evita". He also sings "Chip on Your Shoulder" which is his advice that Elle forgot about Warner and concentrate on her studies. Christopher's fabulous tenor voice soars in his songs especially the tear jerking "Legally Blonde" and he gives a winning portrayal of this kind and caring individual. Some of his funny moments include cleaning up Elle's desk, drinking Red Bull and wearing corduroy jackets. They have great chemistry together. Kaleigh Rose Bradley as Paulette is the biggest scene stealer in the show. She is a gorgeous brunette and her first song is "Ireland" which is a rousing anthem about the kind of men she likes. This powerful song resounds throughout the theatre. Some of her funny lines include "Oh, my God, the new UPS man is like walking porn" and "Cheerleaders scare me." However the cheerleaders end up teaching Paulette how to attract a man in "Bend and Snap", a sure fire way to attract a straight man. Kaleigh displays her strong jazz voice in this song, winning thunderous applause at its conclusion. She and Ryan Barrow as Kyle do a marvelous and dynamic Irish Step dance to "Legally Blonde" when she finds out Kyle is Irish. This number turns into a standout ensemble dance extravaganza.

John Porcaro is perfectly smarmy as Professor Callahan who is tough as nails with his students. He displays his strong baritone voice in "Shark in the Water" where he explains how he defeats all his opponents. Callahan assigns reading for his first class and rules them with an iron hand with fear, shock and awe. John also sings "Whipped Into Shape" about defending the exercise queen. Later in the trial he sings "There Right There" where he wonders if Nikos is gay or European. This song is reminiscent of a Gilbert and Sullivan number. Later on in the trial Callahan puts the moves on Elle, trying to fire her from the Brooke Wyndham case but he receives his just desserts for his despicable behavior. Brendan Paine who is tall, brunette and handsome plays Warner, the handsome but shallow boy that Elle loves madly. Warner dumps Elle and starts to date the snooty, Vivienne. His strong baritone voice is heard in several numbers including the "Serious" duets with Sarah. He also has a comic scene where Elle defeats him in a debate and Callahan forces him to fetch coffee for him. Brendan played the heroic role of Marius in "Les Miserables" but tackles this cad like role with gusto. Christina Pecce as Vivienne, first appears as a bitch on wheels, having Elle thrown out of class, lying to her about a costume party that isn't one, and generally treats her like crap. Later on the show after witnessing Callahan's despicable and chauvinistic treatment of Elle, turns over a new leaf. Christina belts out "Legally Blonde Remix", displaying her strong soprano voice. makes the transition from hard hearted person to a kinder one with finesse. She played Mary Poppins last year for Company Theatre.

Kaytee McLean plays Brooke and does a show stopping, exuberant dance to "Whipped Into Shape" with a terrific dancing ensemble. She and Elle share a secret about her alibi because they are both Delta Nus. Tall, dark and handsome Ryan Barrow is marvelous as Kyle, the UPS man who falls in love with Paulette. Ryan's walk and strut as this ultra sexy guy is hilarious and the show stopping Irish dance is terrific, too. Elle's cheerleader friends start the show off with "Omigod You Guys", a huge production number with Sarah, in "What You Want" which stops the show with the singing and dancing expertise and "Positive" when they try to cheer Elle up after Warner dumps her. They then appear as a Greek chorus throughout the show, only visible and audible to Elle in her moments of crisis. Marybeth Doll, Felicia Martis and Meghan Ryan play Serena, Pilar, and Margot and do a marvelous job.The ending is a surprise, leaving the audience cheering in the aisles. Other comic scene stealers are Keri Mulvehill as Enid who has many funny one liners and Bruno Barbuto as Nikos and Brian Perrault as Carlos. They add a lot of merriment during the trial scene with their wild and crazy antics with their secret agenda. So for a rollicking version of spectacular musical hit, be sure to catch "Legally Blonde" at Company Theatre before Elle and her friends march out of town. Tell them Tony sent you. Make sure you wear pink when you attend this show. This marks the 13th summer that I have been reviewing shows at Company Theatre and they always do superb work.

LEGALLY BLONDE (29 July to 21 August)
Company Theatre, 30 Accord Park Drive, Norwell, MA
1(781)871-2787 or www.companytheatre.com




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