Legally Blonde review: You’ll be tickled pink by Players and Singers’ latest show
Peri Strathearn reviews the major 2023 production by Murray Bridge’s amateur theatre company.
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As a film, Legally Blonde is one of those you might stumble across at 9.30pm on a Friday and watch through to the end for a bit of light-hearted entertainment.
As a stage show, it’s not as angsty as West Side Story, as nuanced as Into the Woods, as stylish as Chicago or as musically catchy as Mamma Mia, to name-drop a few recent Murray Bridge Players and Singers productions.
But you know what?
It’s a fun night out.
Katie Kneebone stars as Elle Woods, a bimbo who finds her place in law school at Harvard.
The leading lady is a hurricane in this show: full of presence, suitably melodramatic, masterful in every pout and vocal inflection.
There are a few standouts among those acting opposite her, too, including Lorelle Barton as a strong-willed beautician-turned-life coach, Louise McCullough as a rebellious student and Hamish Plummer in a variety of roles.
Newcomer Blake Ascione shows great acting talent as Kneebone’s main foil, affable tutor Emmet Forrest; his accent and characterisation are consistently good, and though he could be a more confident singer, the raw ability is there.
Abby McIntosh’s choreography is energetic and well executed by Elle’s Greek chorus, in particular; and the show makes effective use of pauses and asides throughout.
It’s clear that almost everyone in the cast is having a ball, and the time they spent in rehearsals shows in their cohesion on stage.
That’s a credit to directors Trent Baker and Robyn Bates and everyone involved.
The quality extends off-stage, too.
This reviewer received a tip-off about the lighting in this show ahead of time, and sure enough, it stood out, with effective use of colour washes and lights suspended above the stage to create various moods against the otherwise minimalist – and very pink – backdrop.
Peta Davis and her band are tight, for the most part, hidden away beneath the stage; the costumes by Katie Millan and her team are well matched to the characters, especially Barton’s Paulette; and Matt Button’s sound mixing settled into a good spot after the first few numbers of Friday night’s performance.
Heather Hach’s script is packed with laughs, and there are a few in Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin’s songs, too – Gay or European?
This is an entertaining production well delivered by the local amateur theatre company.
But if you intend to buy a ticket, get in quick – there are only a few left for the remaining two weekends of the show’s run.
Performances: 7.30pm Friday, 2pm and 7.30pm Saturday and 2pm Sunday, May 19-21 and 26-27.
Tickets: $45/40 at www.trybooking.com.