Review: Legally Blonde, The Grand Theatre, Blackpool

Lucie Jones (centre) as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. The lead role was played by Rebecca Stenhouse for the opening night at The Grand Theatre, Blackpool
Lucie Jones (centre) as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. The lead role was played by Rebecca Stenhouse for the opening night at The Grand Theatre, Blackpool
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Understudy Rebecca Stenhouse must have been shouting ‘Omigod You Guys’ backstage at The Grand Theatre, Blackpool, after receiving rapturous applause and a standing ovation on the opening night of Legally Blonde The Musical.

The musical actress stepped up to the lead role of fashion conscious sorority girl-turned-lawyer Elle Woods after former X Factor contestant Lucie Jones was put on vocal rest following a viral throat infection.

Rita Simons as Paulette Bonafonte in Legally Blonde. Photos by Robert Workman

Rita Simons as Paulette Bonafonte in Legally Blonde. Photos by Robert Workman

Directed and choreographed by Anthony Williams, the show – a spin-off from the 2001 hit film of the same name – is escapism at its best with its candy coated musical score provided by a live orchestra.

It’s camp, high energy, and pure pop-kitsch.

But beneath the frivolity it still manages to touch on some serious life lessons about integrity and decency, which are even more pertinent in light of the #MeToo movement.

Former Eastenders actress Rita Simons is brilliant as Paulette Bonafonte, Elle’s unlucky in love, brassy salon owner friend.

Bill Ward as Professor Callahan in Legally Blonde The Musical 'Photo Robert Workman

Bill Ward as Professor Callahan in Legally Blonde The Musical 'Photo Robert Workman

She’s loveable, funny and has got a cracking voice for her two big numbers, Ireland and Bend and Snap.

Soap actor Bill Ward is excellent as sleazy Professor Callahan, David Barrett brings the perfect balance of awkward and adorable to the role of teaching assistant Emmett Forrest while the cast’s two pooches, Bruiser the Chihuahua and brutish Rufus, touched the hearts of the audience.

The second act was certainly the better of the two with a skipping rope sequence proving a dynamic opener and the court trial giving Elle the chance to prove there’s more to her than pink stilettos and shopping bags.

The megamix finale, which sees the whole cast don hot pink outfits, gets the audience up on their feet, walking out with a new motto for life: ‘Being true to yourself never goes out of style’.

Legally Blonde The Musical runs at The Grand Theatre, Blackpool, until Saturday, April 14