Bend and clap: MUSE presents Legally Blonde

Eden Faithfull attended a preview of a musical that works every time.

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 1.10.43 pm

As I step into Manning Bar, the Legally Blonde cast are feverishly running lines, finding some pre-show Zen, or screaming incoherent vowels at each other (I’m told this is called a “vocal warm up”). Shakira Wilson, the show’s Producer, informs me that several cast members have had family emergencies, the soloists will be inaudible as there are no microphones, the star of the show is sick and will not be singing and, oh yeah – they’re missing a Chihuahua. With bewildered thoughts of how many Chihuahuas one musical needs, Shakira bellows at the cast members that the rehearsal will be starting immediately (“It’s okay, you’ve got about five minutes to sit down and make yourself comfortable” she says to me on the side).

Despite all the issues that have apparently waylaid this rehearsal, I am truly blown away by the indisputable energy and jubilation of all the actors on stage. Every single member of the cast glows as they giggle and skip their way through the opening number, ‘Omigod You Guys’. This sets the stage for what is clearly going to be a whirlwind of oestrogen-fuelled delight – and I’m not wrong. As Kirralee Elliott makes her entrance to the stage with gorgeous blonde locks in tow, her voice is resounding, and doesn’t sound at all touched by the plague that had been previously alluded to. Alongside her, Amy Humphries as sorority bestie Margot is an absolute pleasure to watch, her enthusiasm and vitality is near unrivalled on stage.

As Gavin Brown’s Warner makes his way on to the stage to carry out the infamous disunion, he is the image of perfect, hair-coiffed smarminess, equipped with the voice of a Matthew Morrison inspired angel. The chemistry between Elliott and Brown is unmistakable, and I can’t help but want to watch them interact more, even as they perform their arduous break-up before my eyes.

Watching the entertainingly neurotic Jack Andrew-Kabilafkas and his Harvard admissions-board cronies become overwhelmed by Elle’s live performance of her own personal essay was undoubtedly a highlight. You simply can’t help but grin at the impressively executed spectacle.

As soon as you think you’ve gotten your fill of quirky yet eminently loveable characters, we are introduced to Paulette Bonafonté, Elle’s hairdresser-cum-confidante. Gabi Kelland is truly outstanding in this role, and performs some of the show’s most entertaining lines with impeccable comedic timing and tone. Throughout the show, Kelland’s endearing ungainliness is offset by Lachlan McKirdy’s smoldering performance as Kyle B Boyle, the UPS guy.

When the musical moves to Harvard the show continues to shine with stand out performers. Logan McArthur is perfectly cast as the gentlemanly Emmett Forrest, Isaac Carroll as Professor Callahan is every bit the shark his character intends to be, and complements his undeniable acting skills with a brilliant singing voice and Lauren McShane is wonderful as her character you love to hate, the snarky Vivienne Kensington.

While watching Legally Blonde, it is impossible not to be astounded by the energy constantly present onstage, from fully choreographed skipping-rope routines (awe-strikingly led by the incredibly cardio-conditioned Lucy Allen) to simple, intimate interactions between Elle and Emmett. The vigour and enthusiasm in this show is utterly infectious, and most definitely not to be missed.

Legally Blonde is showing on the 6th-9th April at the Seymour Centre.

Find out more here or book tickets directly.