Legally Blonde show hits the right notes

Elle, played by Grace Burton, in the Fadlos production of Legally Blonde
Elle, played by Grace Burton, in the Fadlos production of Legally Blonde
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Legally Blonde The Musical was staged by Fakenham and District Light Operatic Society last week.

As a fan of classic musicals from way back I had my doubts about this latest Fadlos production. But from the moment the Sorority House girls burst on stage and delivered their upbeat version of Oh My God You Guys, I was hooked.

The tempo hardly relented throughout the next couple of hours and whilst the boy meets girl theme might have been familiar, the American slant on it all provided huge entertainment. So rapid was the repartee at times that the words took some catching.

In a nutshell we follow the fortunes of Elle Woods, terrifically played by newcomer Grace Burton, who is dumped by her ambitious boyfriend Warner, given a controlled and forcible voice by Thomas Semmons. A moment of apparent wooing turns into a break up as he heads off to study at the prestigious Harvard Law School. Naive Elle determines to follow him but first has to qualify. Forsaking her friends and party time she reaches the right standard and at interview gives a skitty presentation in pink, ‘my signature colour’ –accompanied by the show’s little dog, Susie. Somehow she’s accepted.

Grilled by her mentor, Professor Callahan, played with stern authority by Michael Sylvester, she and the other students are given a lesson in law captured by the haunting song Blood in the Water. Even so, Elle gets thrown out but overcomes her crisis with the help of a bewitching Greek Chorus on the sidelines.

There’s a lovely interlude with hair stylist Paulette, outrageously portrayed by Victoria Perryman and another with Elle at a party wearing a Playboy bunny outfit. Coming to her rescue is senior student Emmett Forrest, a role made for the experienced Ben Francis and his fine voice. Ben also directed this whole box of tricks.

The second half kicks off in a Boston prison with ‘the accused’, Brooke Wyndham, showing off her fitness skills. Tilly Baron is excellent leading this skipping rope routine. In court she is defended by Elle who ultimately and triumphantly wins the case of murder against her.

A fine solo from Ellie Buckingham playing Vivienne Kensington precedes the happy ending with Elle and Emmett finally getting it together. Legally Blonde was an ambitious challenge for Fadlos and a triumph for the company with a mainly young cast of players. Their energy and enthusiasm were infectious throughout.

Scene changes were slick and quick and the band, led by Jo Kemp, drove the whole show along in great style, if occasionally covering some of the words. A final thought must go to Hayley Penney who sadly broke her leg just days before curtain up. Her place on stage as Serena was played at the last minute with no hitches by Katy Ferris.

The youth branch of the company, Fadloz Kidz, will be next up with The Phantom of the Opera from July 5 – 9 at the community centre.