Legally Blonde Review: A truly fabulous revival of the bubbly hit musical

People have supported the revival of Lucy Moss Naturally blond the musical. The 2001 film still has a loyal following more than two decades after its release, and the 2007 stage adaptation is a fan favorite. As pictures of Courtney Bowman as Elle Woods with blonde pigtails and a big smile splattered social media, anticipation for the run at Regent’s Park Open Air Theater only grew. On opening night, much of the crowd wore all pink in honor of the musical’s signature color. The hope and love for this show is palpable. Luckily fans will be more than satisfied – this production is truly fabulous.

After her scruffy boyfriend Warner (Alistair Toovey) dumps her to take life more “seriously,” Elle begins heartbroken college. your plan? Follow him across the country to enroll in Harvard Law School. Naturally. Although she initially tries to win him back, she eventually finds true love in the law practice. (Go Feminism!) As our bubbly blonde heroine, Bowman is a star; bubbly and bright, with unrivaled comic timing. As for the vocals, it’s a challenging singing role that she masters at every turn, bringing numbers like “So Much Better” and sweetness and vulnerability to the hearty ballad “Legally Blonde.” It’s everything you’d expect from a leading lady, especially on a show where she hardly ever leaves the stage.

It may be Elle’s world, but the rest of the cast far from takes a backseat. Nadine Higgin shines as the cheeky salon owner Paulette, making the audience laugh out loud in every scene, while Michael Ahomka-Lindsay as Emmett, Elle’s Harvard ally, is a charming crowd pleaser (in a role that could easily be forgotten). From the Delta Nu sisters to the actors playing canine companions Bruiser and Rufus, the cast pushed boundaries with panache and passion. Everyone feels at home in this dynamic Naturally blond Universe. Meanwhile, numbers like the jump-rope extravaganza “Whipped Into Shape” showcase Ellen Kane’s sharp and impressive choreography.

The world has changed in Reese Witherspoon’s film portrayal since the days of perfumed resumes and landline calls. Elle’s resume now has digital animations, while characters FaceTime remotely and movie routines for TikTok, ring light and all. Other changes were made to reflect the production’s diverse cast: law student Enid is played by actress Alžbeta Matyšáková, who uses she/she pronouns – hence lyrics previously referring to the character’s gender are subtly adapted from the original to reflect this.

This production of Naturally blond is as fresh as the air in which it is performed and easily marks one of the most comprehensive shows I have ever seen. It proves that sticking rigidly to previous versions isn’t necessary to make a great musical great again. Really, there’s nothing to suggest that Elle Woods, Emmett, Paulette, or even the preppy Princess Vivienne (Vanessa Fisher) ever had to be played exclusively by white actors — so why has it taken so long for a major gig to be any different? When casting directors think outside the box and create shows with the same variety that exists in the real world, theater can really dazzle. And on this occasion Naturally blond is so much better for it.

Legally Blonde runs at Regent’s Park Open Air Theater through July 2nd Legally Blonde Review: A truly fabulous revival of the bubbly hit musical


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