Oh, Legally Blonde. You’ll be missed.
The hit musical Legally Blonde has been one of the highlights of the recent Australian musical theatre scene. An unapologetically fun show that kept a twinkle in its eye every minute, with an impressively talented cast, Australia will say farewell to this frothy, finessed, formidable production in Melbourne on July 14.
Producers Howard Panter and John Frost should be proud. A strong show with likable protagonists (and one of the most enjoyable ensemble casts on an Australian stage in the last few years) and a well-developed narrative foundation, Legally Blonde honored its own senses of humour, timing and internal logic to produce a cohesive and sound piece of musical theatre.
Already an excellent show when it opened in Sydney in October last year, it has only continued to grow and flourish. The show a month later was tighter, funnier. Two months from then, in its Sydney closing, it was even better. One scene flowed seamlessly into the next. Lucy Durack sparkled, David Harris delighted, Erika Heynatz charmed anyone in a five mile radius. And supporting voices – like Helen Dallimore’s Paulette and Ali Calder’s Vivienne – soared, pitch-perfect and with pure tone, right into audience’s hearts.
It opened to raves in Brisbane, its next home, and Melbourne has embraced the show in its turn; currently up to 200 fans flock to the stage door every night to interact with the cast, to reach out and touch a show that has clearly touched them, even if only in a laugh, even if only in contemporary styling and value.
It’s not only the singing and dancing, either. Legally Blonde has helped to contribute to the local economies in the cities it has played around Australia with over 35% of Sydney audiences and 30% of Melbourne audiences coming from interstate and international territories.
But what really does it, what grabs you about the show, is the sense of recognition: you look at Legally Blonde as it’s looking right back at you, and you see its homages to pop culture and broad strokes gender stereotypes as it pokes its gentle fun at all of those things, and you understand, because it understands.
“We are so proud of this extraordinary and flawless cast and crew, who have been performing for nearly ten months in this magical romantic comedy,” said the producers in a joint statement.
“The Australian production is second to none in the world, and we’ve all had a joyous time. Anyone who hasn’t seen Legally Blonde only has three weeks to come along to the Princess Theatre for a night of all singing, all dancing excitement!”
Legally Blonde is at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne until July 14. Go and see it; enjoy musical theatre when it’s good, when it’s positive, while it’s here. Tickets at ticketmaster.com.au.