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Review: Legally Blonde at Liverpool Empire ****

June 5, 2018

She may not have won over Eurovision voters, but Lucie Jones is certainly a hit as the lead in this current tour of irrepressible musical Legally Blonde.

The 27-year-old Welsh singer fizzes with energy as Elle Wood, the relentlessly perky West Coast princess who relocates herself and her chihuahua to Boston to follow her feckless ex to Harvard Law School and win him back.

Jones also turns out to be an excellent comedian, although her Elle seems so assured and mature you can imagine her telling the insufferable Warner (Liam Doyle) to take a running jump long before he finally gets his comeuppance.

Legally Blonde the film hit our screens in 2001, post-Girl Power and pre #MeToo, although it echoes both in a story that promotes empowerment and sisterhood, with its message that you don’t need to define yourself through your attractiveness to men to succeed in life.

Of course, the characters still want to be thought of as attractive, just on their own terms.

If that all sounds terribly serious, anyone who has seen Legally Blonde knows that message is wrapped up in a big pink bow, complete with a big dose of glitz, glamour, glitter, pom poms and bunny ears, and presented with plenty of sauce and a little bit of friendly smut.

Under director/choreographer Anthony Williams the ensemble numbers – particularly Omigod You Guys, What You Want and Bend and Snap – are big, bold and bright, and the camp courtroom drama of There! Right There! (otherwise known as Gay or European) is niftily done.

There’s also impressive synchronised skipping rope action from the ensemble and Helen Petrovna as Brooke Wyndham, the DVD fitness guru and Delta Nu accused of shooting dead her husband. They make a difficult routine look effortless.

Meanwhile Rita Simons (EastEnders’ Roxy) is warmly amusing as Elle’s crimper confidante Paulette, although like Jones, she seems so assured in her own skin it’s hard to imagine her being cowed by a man, particularly one as entertainingly grotesque as Mark Peachey’s Dewey, or needing the magical bend and snap routine to catch the eye of another (Ben Harlow's rangy, grinning UPS man).

But then why miss out on the fun? And Legally Blonde is a whole lot of uplifting fun, which is, let’s face it, just what most of us need at the moment.

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