Theatre Review: Legally Blonde The Musical – is half a musical better than none?

OMIGODYOUGUYS! Wait until you get a load of act two of Legally Blonde The Musical, currently on stage at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, because if you were to judge it based on the first act you’d surely join the class-action lawsuit looking for your money back.

Based on the featherweight 2001 movie starring Reese Witherspoon, there really is little to like about Legally Blonde The Musical in its first act, what with the overpowering orchestra and the forgettable lyrics that were near impossible to understand through some rather screechy voices.  And when the biggest pleasure comes from the arrival of the Chihuahua Bruiser early on, you know things are not going well.  I was so down on the whole experience that by the time intermission came along I was already prepared with my first tweet of the night: Legally Blonde The Musical works when the cast aren’t singing.  Unfortunately, it’s a musical.

But since I’ve regretted tweeting during intermission in the past, I resisted both the urge to hit send and the nearest exit.  Good thing, since act two was like walking into a totally different production.

The cast of Legally Blonde The Musical
Michael Wilton as Kyle and Shannon Mullen as Paulette and other cast members of Legally Blonde The Musical

 

Perhaps it was in the elevation of the camp level with songs like “Bend and Snap” that made the second half more enjoyable.  Or maybe it was the arrival of Shannon Mullen in the roll of Brooke whose vocal abilities were only matched by her athleticism.  Or was it the hunky UPS deliveryman Kyle (Michael Milton) that plays out in so many gay men’s wet dreams (“like walking porn” as Paulette declares)?  Or perhaps it was just the over-the-top courtroom scene when Elle takes them all on a road-trip.  Whatever the reason, I’m glad I didn’t just tweet and run during intermission.

Since Legally Blonde The Musical is really only half a musical and given the ticket prices, if you’re really determined to see the show, I say watch for half price tickets at Tickets Tonight (I see there are some available for Wednesday night’s performance as there were for opening night).

Or if half a musical isn’t enough for you, see if you can find a copy of the movie at your local video store – no doubt you’ll find it for rent in the 99 cent bin.

2 1/2 out of 5 Stars Legally Blonde The Musical

Music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin.  Book by Heather Hach.  Based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer motion picture.  Directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell.  A Broadway Across Canada presentation.  On stage at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre through March 6, 2011.  Tickets available through Ticketmaster online.

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