31 December 2012

Blonde on blonde

It’s is a romantic comedy, I guess, and it’s definitely musical theatre, but I got to Legally Blonde in Sydney and enjoyed it lots. Not for the plot – boy leaves girl for Harvard Law School; girl follows and finds love and success in her own quirky Californian way. Perhaps it was the themes - there were plenty that got touched on: be positive and be true to yourself and be honest and trustworthy, all enmeshed in a goodhearted mix of pink feminism and collegial sisterhood.
There were strange hints at higher concerns, like the Greek chorus and Thomas Hobbes and the Polonius quote (even if it’s frequently ridiculed in the original): “to thine own self be true, / And it must follow, as the night the day, / Thou canst not then be false to any man” (Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 1, scene 3, 78–81). There’s pride in a chip on the shoulder and a resulting commitment to hard work. There are frequent Americanisms, like the cheerleaders and the sorority chumminess of Delta Nu, which is also the source of the Greek chorus. There’s jovial lust and earthy characters - the hairdresser and delivery man - to match the patricians and professionals. There’s some groan-worthy humour: is the too-good looking guy Gay or European; what’s the import of the TTP (=Totally Terrible Perm). As you can imagine, it’s silly, but I found this also energetic and exuberant, busily arranged and well played and strongly sung, exhaustingly danced and joyously presented. The sets were good and the lights were decent and the proscenium arch was strangely but effectively highlighted. The music was punctuated and not too repetitive (my thinking is that some degree of repetitiveness is needed in this form) and sometimes touched on rap and funk and soul. And it was a genuinely nice story, as romcoms are. If that’s all it is, then so be it. I enjoyed it and this was a decent night out. After all, I’m on holidays with my Mum.

Legally Blonde: the Musical was performed at the Lyric Theatre at the Star Casino in Sydney and featured Lucy Durack (as the central character Elle Woods), Rob Mills, David Harris, Helen Dallimore, Erika Heynatz and Cameron Daddo and two cute dogs who stole the show whenever they came on. For interest, the band was Kellie Dickerson (Musical director, keys), David Piper and Dave Skelton (keys), Tim Oran and Mark Taylor (reeds 2), Simon Sweeney and Tim Crow (trumpets), Colin Philpott (trombone, heather Burnley (violin), Chris Wright (guitar, etc), David Stratton (basses), Jamie Castrisos (drums) and Richard Gleeson (percussion).

Production pics by Jeff Busby; used with permission

  • More pics of Legally Blonde, while they remain available
  • 1 comment:

    Eric Pozza said...

    Stacey Woll, Prof of Theatre at Princeton Univ, writing on Les Mis: "The music is seductive because it's repetitive, making us feel as if we know the songs, even if it's our first time watching. In this form of sung-through musical theatre, called 'poperetta', a few melodies are recycled across characters and dramatic moments, creating a sense of familiarity within the production". (Les Mis strikes a familiar note, in Canberra Times, 1 Jan 2013, p.13) It fits.