REVIEW: Legally Blonde
The most unnecessary review yet (read: all the tickets are already gone)
I was actually kind of nervous about doing this review. I'd seen the posters (bum, tiny waist, mass of blonde hair), heard the vague grumpy rumblings around the ADC, and when listening to the soundtrack had been quite shocked by the amount of racial stereotyping. Essentially, I was quite confused that this musical had been chosen: firstly, it necessitates a white, thin lead, excluding a massive chunk of prospective actors, and secondly it's just got some outdated ideas that surely wouldn't suit the Cambridge crowd.
Rather, this slightly vacuous musical was turned into a meaningful and potent argument against the treatment of women, especially women who are especially 'girly', in academic settings. I know I've felt this before; whenever I dress in a more feminine manner, it's as if male supervisors think my IQ has dropped by half and their treatment of me seems to radically change. Although I still think the choice of musical was wrong because of how exclusive it seems, I respect the interpretation and meaning given to the story.
Choice aside, let's talk about the actual production. If you don't know Legally Blonde, it's about Elle Woods, typical American sweetheart, who gets dumped by her boyfriend Warner when he decides he needs someone 'serious' (brunette) by his side at Harvard Law. She decides to follow him to Harvard to win him back and show him her serious side.
The entire cast were absolutely wonderful. Sophie Atherton shines as Elle, bringing depth, sincerity and warmth to her character. She's funny, she's sweet, she's bubbly- but she also feels deeply and doubts her own capabilities. She brings the entire show to life, and gives the narrative real meaning.
Similarly, the whole Delta Nu gang bring a sense of energy and spark to the show and make sure that these girly girls aren't just presented as vacuous blondes, but as real girls with real ambitions and love for each other. On the other hand, the law students also shone, especially Meg Coslett (Enid), whose impression of the feminist, activist high-flyer felt a little bit too close to the bone for the Cambridge crowd.
Praise must also go to Harriet Fisher (Paulette), Stanley Thomas (Kyle), and Sophie Foote (Brooke), who brought comedy gold, smizes and skipping rope skills to the stage respectively. Not forgetting Alex Hancock's bright, shiny gold shirt and short shorts, and the two cutest canine actors I've ever seen.
Something that really struck me about the whole production was the professionalism of it all. Often, when watching musicals here, I actually feel nervous about something going wrong- bad choreography, or the set falling onto someone's head, or a wrong note. But with this, I could just sit back and trust everyone to do an absolutely incredible job.
To conclude: this is a really bubbly, funny, excellent production that you desperately need to see. But under all the pink, the fluff and the jokes, is a very important message about the patriarchal structures in the academic environment and the treatment of femininity as inferior. I just wish we all could have had the chance to be a part of the conversation.
We give this production 4.5/5 stars.
Header credit: Gabriel Humphreys