Review: The cast of Legally Blonde give a performance which leaves the audience breathless

By Jo Scrivin in Feature

From the moment Legally Blonde, performed by Xentricity, at the Larruperz Centre in Ross, began the audience were taken on an exciting, high energy rollercoaster ride. And they loved every minute of it.

The cast gave a performance worthy of any professional theatre company. My sister, who accompanied me to the show on Friday night, said she could not believe how lucky Ross is to have shows of such a high standard on their doorstep.

Full of colour and brimming over with the life and energy that only belongs to the young, Legally Blonde tells the story of a young woman who seems to have it all, looks and love. But when boyfriend, Warner, ditches her for someone more serious, Elle decides to charm her way into Harvard Law School and win back her man.

But rather than change herself – from someone who loves clothes, especially pink, her friends and her dog, into someone more serious, Elle stays true to herself. She discovers that when she puts her mind to it she can compete with the best Harvard has to offer.

Elle Woods, played by Lauren Hughes was the star of the show, she held the attention of the audience every moment she was on the stage, which was nearly the entire time. However she had stiff competition in the form of her friends, and Greek Chorus; Holly Clack, Olivia Hunt and Olivia Dalton. When they weren’t performing high octane dance routines they were carrying out costume changes with lightening speed.

Also putting in an amazing performance, which was both comic and touching, was Emily Gardner. She was the hairdresser with a fondness for all things Irish, and the Irish dance scene was a real showstopper, although the skipping scene in the jail was jaw-dropping too.

As always it was a treat to watch Ben Abbott perform, he was perfect as Professor Callahan but I also enjoyed his portrayal of Pforzheimer.

I haven’t the space to mention every member of the cast although they were all worthy of praise, they must have put in hours of rehearsal to turn out so slick a show. One name to watch out for in the future is Ellie Scrivins, who is just 15-years-old. She played the part of Viviene Kensington, who despite her sniping comments about Elle at the start of the show soon falls under her spell and realises she is more than just a bimbo. Jess Burton as Brook Wyndham and Rees Matthews, who played several parts, but was especially memorable as Kyle O’Boyle, are also on the list of ones to watch.

As always the production of this Xentricity show was superb, as far I as could see there were no hitches and with so many people in the cast, elaborate scenes and props, this was no easy task for the vital back stage crew.

Steve Liddle, who I recall from several fabulous performances with Xentricity, was director. Together with producer, Jane Hewson, and choreographer, Sarah-Jane Matthews, they brought the best out of this talented and enthusiastic cast.

In fact it would be hard to say who seemed to enjoy the show more, the cast or the audience. Everyone on stage deserves all the applause they received as they kept the enthusiasm up whether they were performing in the hairdressers, the sorority house or the courtroom.

Matt Lawrence played the part of the heir, Warner Huntington III who has to live up to what his family want for him even though it may not be what he wants for himself. He was the perfect ‘sensible’ foil to the exuberant Elle. Lewis Booton gave a solid performance as the kind and steady Emmett Forrest who ends up winning the girl.

And, of course, this was a musical and I have to say the band is hugely talented, the singing was great and everyone involved in this show must be more than proud of themselves.

I could not end this review without a special mention of two very popular performers, Bruiser and Rufus. Elle’s pampered pet was played by Arnie Booton and Rufus who belonged to the hairdresser was played by Ethel Williams. Totally unfazed by the sea of faces and the noise they seemed to lap up the attention.

Legally Blonde has certainly maintained Xentricity’s reputation as one of the best musical theatre companies around.

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