The Cambridge Independent

Legally Blonde is one of those musicals which is so popular that it has almost developed a cult following. It has a huge fan base, and of course, with any huge fan base comes the risk of offending that group with a mediocre production. Fear not, however; this ADC production not only does justice to the original, but it reminds us why exactly it was so popular in the first place. If you don’t know anything about Legally Blonde, here's a little introduction: Elle Woods, fashion merchandising major and president of the Delta Nu sorority at UCLA, gets dumped by Warner Huntington III when he decides he needs someone more “serious”. In an effort to win him back, she follows him to Harvard Law School and tries to prove that she’s more than just a dumb blonde. 

"This is a night of good light-hearted fun, with some great singing to boot"

I have to start by talking about the cast, all of whom were excellent. Sophie Atherton as Elle captures the audience’s attention the moment she walks on stage and never lets it go. Her infectious smile lights up the theatre with Elle’s positivity, and she rocks the iconic all-pink look. At the same time, Atherton showcases great depth in Elle’s moments of self-doubt and temporary defeat. Her body language, her facial expressions, her range of emotion, her voice– I cannot sing Atherton’s praises enough. Unfortunately, Arthur Roadnight as Elle’s love interest, Emmett, did not quite match the energy of the rest of the cast. He does a good job in moments of his own character’s development, but many of his interactions with Atherton felt lacklustre. It seemed like Elle had more chemistry with Warner (Justin Wilson) at the start of the show than she did with Emmett at the end.

Among the huge supporting cast, standout performances came from Paulette (Harriet Fisher) and Brooke (Sophie Foote). Fisher especially is charming and hilarious, and her romance with Stanley Thomas’ 'Kyle the Delivery Man' is heart-warming comedy gold. Elle’s fellow law students Warner, Vivienne (Jamie Williams), and Enid (Meg Coslett) each have their moments to shine, and Sean O’Neill nails the role of their sleazy law professor. The Delta Nu sorority sisters/Greek chorus deliver flawless singing and dancing throughout, and act as perfect counterparts to the serious law students. Lydia Clay-White and Francesca Vella-Bonnici did particularly well in making their California girl characters entertaining rather than annoying. I also have to praise Miguel Rivilla, who drew consistent laughter as both a frat boy and as Jacques. His and Alex Hancock’s declaration of love was priceless, and a perfect follow-up to the rainbow flags dropping during the “Gay or European” number. Of course, the real MVPs are the two actual, real dogs who come on stage to steal the audience’s hearts. 

The set design is exactly what you hope for in a Lent term musical: elaborate, with a staircase and moving parts that allow it to act as a sorority house, Harvard classroom, nail salon, and dorm room. This is the backdrop for some truly stunning performances. The band melds wonderfully with the actors’ voices, and I was repeatedly surprised by just how great the singing was throughout the show. Pair that with fast-paced dancing that was impressively in sync (there’s even an Irish stepdance!), and you’ve got the kind of exciting, dynamic performances that a musical like this should have. The showstopper that is “What You Want” in the first act is well-directed, impactful, and inspiring, while never feeling overwhelming. However, the energy and scale of the performances keep ramping up all the way through the second act, with more numbers involving many members of the cast. With so many performers on stage, this made part of the second half feel a bit messy at times, losing some of the focus and tightness it had at the start.


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Overall, Legally Blonde is a perfect way to end your term. It’s a night of good light-hearted fun, with some great singing to boot. The story of Elle Woods will always be ridiculous and fantastical, but you might also find the unrelenting optimism inspiring. She hair flips her way through obstacles as quickly as she does through costume changes, and this production does her justice on a scale you’re only likely to see a couple of times a year at the ADC.

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