Legal jargon, dance numbers and dogs
I walked into Riverlea Theatre’s opening night of Legally Blonde already a fan.
I’d seen the 2001 movie more than once, but was unaware a musical version followed six years later to positive reviews.
I predicted the entertaining plot line and comical dialogue would be a winner, but even those unfamiliar with the film or Broadway show can find themselves with a new favourite theatre performance.
Legally Blonde tells the story of Elle Woods navigating her way through Harvard Law School for love.
Riverlea’s musical version starred Maddie Hughes as its enchanting lead, whose acting, singing and dancing make her a triple-threat.
But there were also stand-out performances from the ensemble cast.
Emily Foden’s portrayal of Paulette Bonofonte, and especially her goosebumpworthy performance of Ireland, was spectacular.
With the accent, the clear and direct voice projection and infallible quirks, Foden was an asset to the stage.
Alex Pelham-Waerea as Emmett Forrest oozed geeky charm and provided laughs, but he was more than just comic relief in serious situations.
He is no stranger to the stage - having starred in Hairspray, Phantom of the Opera and Rent - which is no surprise as his voice, again, was mesmerising.
The list could go on: Ben Maynard’s Warner Huntington III, Kirsty Young’s Vivienne Kensington and Alissa Thompson’s Brooke Wyndham were delightful to watch.
In fact, the cast of 33 all belonged on stage, and the ensemble dance numbers were a highlight.
The skilful choreography by Shanelle Borlase was evident in Whipped Into Shape, and the catchy What You Want.
Also highly impressive was Mel Martin’s direction.
With a preference to dark and dramatic productions, Martin admitted Legally Blonde was a challenge from the opposite end of the spectrum.
But I do not think Martin should shy away from bright and bubbly shows in the future, as they are clearly in her forte.
Fans of Elle Woods - meet Elle Woods in musical form.
Riverlea Theatre’s Legally Blonde The Musical can be seen until June 3. To purchase tickets, phone 0800 800 192 or visit iticket.co.nz
Emily Foden, Maddie Hughes and Alex Pelham-Waerea were brilliantly cast.