Blonde ambitions

March 14, 2016 | By More

Bohemians turn Legally Blonde for the week

The Bohemians Lyric Opera Company bring their production of Legally Blonde to the stage this week, as the final part of the King’s amateur season.

And while it is a chance for this particularly talented bunch of 52 amateur performers to get their chops around a nicely modern piece of musical theatre, it seems that their leading actress is more keen than usual to get on the stage.

Can Elle (Lydia Carrington) live without her Bruiser? Photo: Greg Macvean

Lydia Carrington (Elle, centre). Photo: Greg Macvean

“I’ve been waiting to do this show my entire life,” Lydia Carrington who plays the lead role of Elle Woods told Æ, pointing out that she is part of the generation which grew up with the two Legally Blonde films.

Elle Woods is the sorority girl who, devastated by her break-up with over-privileged, super-rich boyfriend Warner Huntington III, abandons sorority life for Harvard Law School in an attempt to prove herself to be more than a ditzy blonde.

Not that Carrington has been starved of stage appearances, as she has made her mark on Eusog productions over the last year or so. She got a more than honourable mention for her turn as Florence in Chess in the autumn of 2014, gave a standout turn as Tessa in Gondoliers last March and solid support in their  five star fringe take on Little Shop of Horrors.

character development

“When we were 13, my friends and I used to do our own choreography to the show, so it is a show that is very close to my heart,” she explains.

“I just love the character of Elle, and I actually think that there is a lot more to her than people think and I think that is the moral of the story.

Elle and cast members of Legally Blonde at the Amateur Showcase in January. Photo: Greg Macvean

Elle and cast members at the Amateur Showcase in January. Photo: Greg Macvean

“She is not just a ditzy blonde there is a lot of character underneath and I really want to bring that out in the performance, I don’t want to play her ditzy the whole way through I want character development and her to be a rounded character.

“So it is exciting to work on, but it is not easy.”

Playing against her as what you might call the ditzy bloke, Warner, is Thomas McFarlane, who has had his own successes on stage in recent times too. Notably a great vocal take on Sky Masterson in MAMA’s Guys and Dolls, and creating two very distinct versions of Joe in Allegro’s take on Our House, the Madness musical.

selfish

“He is quite different to anything I have played before,” McFarlane told Æ.  “What is really interesting about Warner is that he accidentally causes everything that Elle encounters that makes her who she is meant to be. In a selfish way he ends up being completely unselfish.

“At the same time, everything that he does that is selfish he does because of other factors in his life that he doesn’t have control over.”

Legally Blonde Cast. Photo Gareth Brown

Legally Blonde Cast. Photo Gareth Brown

One of the great things about the show, however, is not the opportunities for soloists, but the big ensemble numbers such as Omigod You Guys and So Much Better, not to mention athletic chorus dance sequences in Whipped into Shape and Legally Blonde remix.

So what should audiences expect of the Bohemian’s production of Legally Blonde? “It’s got love, it’s got heartache, it’s got drama, and most importantly, it’s got real dog actors on stage!” quips the production’s director Jon Cuthbertson, describing it is the kind of show that breaks down the barriers between genres and appeals to a diverse audience.

“Because it is a new show, we have not tried to be too different,” he told Æ, mindful of the big touring version of the Olivier award-winning production which came to the Playhouse in 2011.

“We are trying to keep the show that people would expect to see. If they have seen the film, they get the same story. This takes the original script from the film and tightens it up, so it is a bit wittier, a bit funnier, a bit sharper.

“What we have done is try to focus on that, so the characters pick out the good bits of humour and the serious bits to give the audience a bit of heart to it as well.

“And with 52 in the cast there are plenty of opportunities for big chorus numbers.”

Listing

Legally Blonde the Musical
King’s Theatre, 2 Leven Street EH3 9LQ.
Wednesday 16 – Saturday 19 March 2016
Daily: 7.30pm; Matinee, Sat 19: 2.30pm.
Details and tickets from: http://www.edtheatres.com/legallyblonde

The Bohemians website: www.bohemians.org.uk
The Bohemians on Twitter: @Bohemians_Ed
The Bohemians on facebook: bohemiansedinburgh

ENDS

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