Sunderland Echo - - The Big Interview -

h my god you guys – pre­pare for more pink, more glit­ter and more fab­u­lous­ness than the film when Legally Blonde heads to the Sun­der­land stage.

The spin-off mu­si­cal from the 2001 hit film star­ring Reese Wither­spoon will hair flick its way to Wear­side in April.

Stepping into the hot pink stilet­tos of fash­ion­ista-cum-lawyer Elle Woods is for­mer X Fac­tor fi­nal­ist Lu­cie Jones, with for­mer Eas­tEn­ders ac­tress Rita Si­mons as un­lucky-inlove hair­dresser Paulette Bon­a­fonte, and star of Corona­tion Street and Em­merdale Bill Ward as the con­niv­ing Cal­laghan.

De­spite not be­ing in the soror­ity gang, Rita dis­plays the sis­terly sass which made her be­come a muchloved Eas­tEn­ders fix­ture as Roxy Mitchell in the hit soap.

Much like Roxy, she im­bues Paulette with a raw vul­ner­a­bil­ity which you can’t help but warm to as the brassy hair­dresser with a big heart looks for love.

But what this role re­ally al­lows her to do is to show off a bril­liant knack for comic tim­ing and a pow­er­ful singing voice in num­bers such as Ire­land.

It’s a real show-stealer of a per­for­mance. Hard to believe then, that this is her mu­si­cal com­edy de­but.

Speak­ing back­stage af­ter the show in Ed­in­burgh, Rita says she’s lov­ing tread­ing the boards.

“I love the story of Legally Blonde and it’s great when you have a good au­di­ence in,” she said. “Even when they’re qui­eter it keeps you on the ball and the more you get from them, the more you bounce off it.

“I think in TV it’s very self-sat­is­fy­ing. When you nail a scene on TV you just con­grat­u­late your­self. But on the stage you have an au­di­ence to tell you if you’ve done well and give you that

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