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Legally Blonde Again

August 3, 2019 | By | 1 Reply More
All Edinburgh Theatre’s young writers scheme returns

This Fringe, All Edinburgh Theatre is proud to announce that four young writers from youth theatre company Strangetown are joining the team as our mentoring scheme returns.

Here are the reviews from Layza Venancio Mirhadi and Suzanne O’Brien from our first outing – to see the Beyond Broadway Experience’s production of Legally Blonde – The Musical at the Edinburgh King’s. Amy Quinn and Iskra Hearn’s reviews are on the previous page.

★★★★☆    Fabulous and energetic

Review by Layza Venancio Mirhadi

Legally blonde is famously known for its release as a film in 2001. The story encounter’s a sorority girl who is trying to win back her supposable love of her life. She attempts this by getting into Harvard university, which is where Elle woods journey begins. The film has been turned into a fabulous and energetic musical theatre production.

As the curtain raises the stage begins to fill up with the ensemble cast. They sing in perfect tune and dance in time with the music and each other. The ensemble does a very good job by staying in character even if they were at the far back of the stage even though they could have potentially felt they were not seen clearly. Although they were seen because of the exceptional blocking used. The facial expressions and body language by the cast created a big energy on stage which projected on to the audience.

Lori Davidson as Elle and the cast. Pic AJG Photography

Elle Woods is played by Lori Davidson who has an exceptional strong voice and stage presences. She interprets the character so well its believable. She can dance, sing and act. A triple threat. The second lead is Emmett Forest who is played by Fraser McAdam again has an incredible voice and stage presence. This is shown by the chemistry both characters have with each other from the very start of getting to know each other.

The full cast use the performing space to the fullest which makes the performance really intriguing. This is done by having the ensemble cast in the boxes and scattered throughout the audience. This enhanced the chorus and catches your attention because the cast are all around you singing.

The props used on stage enhance the performance. Especially in the dinner scene where the director could easily have decided to use a violin backing track but instead, he uses a real violin that is played beautifully by Ellana Gilbert.

As in the film, Elle Woods has a pet chihuahua. If you are a big animal fan you will be happy to know they use a real life chihuahua who is very adorable and exceptionally well behaved. A definite crowd pleaser.

Legally blonde is a humorous, lively performance that can brighten up your weekend.

★★★★☆    A colourful extravaganza

Review by Suzanne O’Brien

The Beyond Broadway Experience production of Legally Blonde – The Musical at King’s Theatre, is a jam packed, feel good show with an abundance of colour, live music and even dogs.

Based on the movie Legally Blonde, the musical version incorporates the iconic parts of the original with spectacularly choreographed dance routines and an incredibly catchy soundtrack, played by a live orchestra.

Eilidh MacDonald, Cora Irskine, Lori Davidson and Freya Purdie. Pic AJG Photography

Over 150 eager young performers take to the stage with acrobatics, energetic dance routines and big musical numbers to tell the story of a stereotypical “dumb blonde” Elle Woods.

When Elle is dumped by her boyfriend she gets into Harvard law school to prove that she is the one for him. But due to her fashion-focused brain, ditsy personality and bold choice of outfits, her intelligence is questioned. However, things begin to change for Elle as she uses what she knows best to her advantage.

Lori Davidson fully embodies the lead role Elle, giving a stand out performance that is comical and endearing. She commands the stage and oozes confidence, creating a character that stays true to herself throughout by using her knowledge of fashion and beauty to defy stereotypes. From Davidsons’ powerful vocals to her shuffle like walk, she has it all.

By her side throughout are her best friends Margot, Serena, Pilar and Kate performed by Freya Purdie, Cora Erskine, Eilidh MacDonald and Imogen Hoppé. They all possess great talent as over-the-top, stereotypical sorority girls that have boundless energy, a great stage presence and vocals to match. Although not always physically present the are ever-present in Elle’s mind as sort of a Greek chorus and often come to her to give support when she needs it most. They create loveable, charming and cheeky characters that bring a great joy to the stage.

serious intensity

In great contrast, Taylor Williams takes on the role of the manipulative Professor Callahan. Williams’ commanding voice and dominating exterior create a powerful and egotistical man that exudes a serious intensity, giving the impression he is not a man to be messed with. He seems innocent at first, just a stereotypical fierce lawyer, yet he uses his high up position to manipulate others and his true colours shine through.

Some of the ensemble appeared in the boxes. Pic AJG Photography

The vast chorus are incorporated into the production with real flair, in such a way as to give everybody a chance to shine. During the big numbers they use all areas of the stage, boxes and sides of the stalls, immersing the audience into the performance.

They are also included as part of the set, standing on boxes as mannequins in a shop and as pictures in a frame in the hair salon Elle visits on multiple occasions. Thus giving height and depth to the performance space.

The production is packed with fast paced, technically advanced dance routines choreographed by Murray Grant, Louise Ferrier and guest choreographer Nikki Snelson. Nothing is held back, with cheerleading and flips and tricks galore. Many routines include props adding even more difficulty and further emphasising just how talented these young performers are.

However with a cast of this immense size it is impossible to take everything in and appreciate all the details.

It is evident that some ensemble cast members use the large ensemble as an excuse to break character and they are not always fully engaged in the piece which is a distraction.

Accents are lost on various occasions and unfortunately that does puncture the illusion of the setting. However, it is not surprising the accents were compromised when the production is so full on.

The use of live dogs is a great addition and thoroughly entertaining, although they don’t always play by the rules – giving life to the saying, never work with animals.

The production is bright, bold and fun. It has a great mix of comedy, music and dance, that is truly a feast for the eyes. It includes some adult humour yet still stayed wholesome and innocent, appealing to all ages.

A fun filled show with songs you will be singing for days.

Running time: Two hours and 35 minutes (including one interval)
King’s Theatre 2 Leven Street EH3 9LQ. Phone booking: 0131 529 6000
Thursday 18 – Saturday 20 July 2019
Evenings: 7.30pm; Matinees Fri: 3pm & Sat: 2.30pm.

All Edinburgh Theatre would like to the Beyond Broadway Experience and Strangetown for their support of this scheme.

The reviews from Amy Quinn and Iskra Hearn are on the previous page here.

ENDS

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