Legally Blonde, BODS at Bath Theatre Royal

PINK is the colour that dominates this show, and “In the Pink” are the  words that describe Steve Blackmore’s silky smooth production for Bath Oper­atic and Dramatic Society.

Not only do costume coordinators John Cousins and Anna Fraenkel pick up the colour in the costumes, the sets and accessories on view are equally colour coordinated to feature pink. That light frothy feeling you get with this colour is reflected in every aspect of the production, Annette Wilsher’s choreography, carried out with enthusiastic precision by the company, and MD Peter Blackwood’s  orchestrations played and sung with equal gusto all combine to keep this show bubbling along like a well-made souffle.

Which was just as well because this musical, based on the successful 2001 film, has a paper thin storyline and a score that oft repeats itself, but when played with pace, drive and commitment as this production was, it is a sure- fire hit.

The role of the Elle Woods, the not-so-dumb blonde who, after being dumped by her snobbish boyfriend for not coming from a high enough social group to marry a Harvard Law School student, makes up her mind to follow him into the law school, does so and overtakes him, requires someone with a big personality to play her, and in Serena Dunlop the company found just such a person.

From the moment she joins forces with Alana Turnbull’s lovely kookie hairdresser Pauline Bonafonte, Serena showed that her Elle was a young lady who was a match for any man – or woman. Whether it was a case of belting out numbers with controlled power, doing battle with chauvinist men or snobbish women (like Madeleine Woolgar’s beautifully bitchy Vivienne Kensington), Ser­ena’s outwardly dumb blonde proved to be an adversary to be feared.

Pip Knowles as Emmet Forest, Elle’s great ally at the school, and Dave Key-Pugh as the law professor who tries to abuse his power to  take advantage of his young female students, created two nice characters, and held their own vocally. But in this show it’s the girls who hold the best hands and right the way through the cast took advantage of this fact.

None more than the eight strong group who formed a modern Greek Chorus, ready  willing and able to back Elle’s cause at every turn. Vocally and in movement they rarely missed a trick.

Comedy is never far off in any scene, especially when Elle and Emmett lead the defence of Jenny Lavender’s Brooke Wyndham, a fitness guru, (who among other assets displays a terrific skipping rope routine),  falsely on trial for murder. The court scene develops into pure farce, played, as all good farce should be, at a pace which leaves the customers no time to realise how silly the whole affair is.

Add two lovable dogs to the cast, Lola and Sammy playing Bruiser and Rufus to give the show that “ahhh” factor, and  unless you hate modern musical and are looking for a more serious storyline then you will find this smartly delivered production a fun evening at the theatre.


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