OMG can this cast dance! The dancing and the Choreography (Linda Williams) are the indisputable stars of this fine production. But there is more to it than that.
A “Legally Blonde” sorority girl works her way into Harvard Law School in pursuit of the boy friend who dumped her, and finds there, among other adventures, the way the Law can work to help people, as well as being full of sharks. She also finds love, self-acceptance and confidence, in amongst the other driving forces of fashion, group pressure and outward appearance.
Tegan Gully is a convincing, appealing and agile Elle, nicely matched by the perfectly cast Brady Lloyd as Emmett. There are a number of other stand-out roles in this production, including Fiona DeLaine as Paulette, (one of the few whose words were mostly clear enough to understand), Shenayde Wilkinson-Sarti as Brooke, Nicholas Bishop as the unpleasant Professor Callahan, and a really nice little (very amusing) cameo from Lindsay Prodea as Kyle, the delivery man with a “package”.
There are many other character parts professionally executed by this large cast, and some very fine chorus work from the whole ensemble. However, the combination of ultra-Americanism, broad, but authentic accents, and over-voiced shout-singing, without enough attention to clarity of diction made it virtually impossible to decipher the words. Some of the story and nuances (though subtlety is not a hallmark of this show!) were thus lost.
The orchestra, under Musical Director Mark DeLaine, does a fine job, but is often too loud for the singers, who were perhaps not assisted by the sound system, so balance became an issue.
Sets and lighting (Mark Oakley and David Sinclair respectively) were masterful. The excellent use of a 25-screen giant screen and a front scrim for video projection lent a reality to the many scenes, and facilitated very smooth multiple scene changes.
But any auditory faults were more than compensated for by the slick, energetic and authentically American “flashy presentation” of the choreography. While it was all good, none surpassed the supreme precision and spectacle of the singing and dancing with coordinated skipping ropes of “Whipped Into Shape” which was enthusiastically recognised and applauded by the capacity audience.
The Hills Musical Company enjoys a justified reputation for quality performances, and with a little tightening, this one will do no damage to that reputation.
The Hills Musical Company Inc. presents
Legally Blonde The Musical
Book Heather Hach | Music and Lyrics Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin
Director David Sinclaire
Venue: Stirling Community Theatre, Adelaide Hills
Dates: 7 – 22 November 2014
Tickets: $32 – $28