REVIEW: Legally Blonde (Polish Theatre) ★★★★

The irresistibly heart-warming, iconic story of ‘Legally Blonde‘ was spectacularly brought to life by City Academy this past week, retelling the tale of Elle Woods, a young Malibu girl dedicated to holding on to the love of her high school sweetheart by all means necessary – which in her case, is all the way to law school. Backed by her lovable pooch Bruiser, she surpasses all expectations and gets in to Harvard, where she finally has the chance to prove that she is both beauty and brains – but will she be able to win back the illustrious Warner, or has he moved on to more…turtle-necked…pastures?

Loyal ‘Legally Blonde’ fans revelled in the reenactment of the classic scenes – particularly the “bend…and snap!” – and Elle making her infamous ‘bunny’ entrance at the stuffy college party, spreading a wonderful air of nostalgia throughout the audience. Rebecca Thomas served up a rendition of Elle that was nothing short of vibrant and infectious, supplying the voice, moves and stage presence required for such a strong character – a superbly-cast leading lady. The powerful voice of Scott Topping didn’t miss a beat as the virtuous Emmett, and Barbara de Miranda gave a particularly standout performance as the adorable character of Paulette Bonafonte.

Ughetta Pratesi‘s dance choreography was highly inventive and boldly staged; a scene involving both dancing and jumping rope at the same time had the audience open-mouthed and impressed (at the stamina displayed, too!). This was a very large cast, so aside from the occasional lack of cohesion during mass dance scenes (sadly inevitable) the coordinating of human traffic and stage changes was noticeably excellent – not a single bump into another actor, just smooth set changes and well-configured transitions. The performance of ‘Gay or European’ had the audience in stitches, and the music throughout (coordinated by Charlie Ingles) was faultless.

When you take a story that is so precious to so many and pledge to reignite it, you’re always taking a bit of a risk – but Director Alan Pearson has succeeded in delivering a show bursting with energy and talent – I’m still chuckling thinking back to certain scenes even now! Sold-out each night, City Academy can call its latest performance an all-pink, all-fabulous success.

Reviewed by Laura Evans