Masqueraders' strong case for laughter and fun
Masqueraders Theatrical Society is providing a highly entertaining, lively, colourful and fun version of this hit musical. Based on the novel by Amanda Brown, Legally Blonde was an award winning comedy film made in 2001 about Elle Woods, a sorority girl who tries to win back her ex-boyfriend by going off to law school. This led to the hit musical by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin which was well received on both sides of the Atlantic. This was a very ambitious project for the Masqueraders and at the opening night there was absolutely no sign of any first night nerves as the entire cast gave enthusiastic performances and seemed to be enjoying themselves every bit as much as their appreciative audience. Unlike most musicals there is very little spoken dialogue and the majority of the narrative is delivered through the very catchy musical numbers which were sung extremely tunefully by the talented cast who managed to sustain their American accents throughout. There were extremely slick and unobtrusive scene changes with the stage providing a variety of settings including a department store, a hairdressing salon, a penal institution and a courtroom. The scenes were further enhanced by a large screen at the rear of the stage which effectively provided further context. The music and choreography were superbly directed and the production moves swiftly along and, although the script is somewhat ‘cheesy’, it never failed to amuse. Becky Orton gives a faultless performance as the endearing and likeable Elle Woods but she was well supported by all the principals and the rest of the immensely gifted cast. There are some really important messages for young attractive girls as Elle had to work extremely hard to get into law school and, once there she had to overcome prejudices and meet expectations. She also showed that ‘remaining true to yourself never goes out of style’ and stuck to her principles in not betraying a confidence shared by a defendant and resisting the advances of a hard-nosed professor. I was accompanied to the performance by a friend who had actually seen the show a few years ago in the West End. Her verdict was that this ‘feel good’ production was every bit as enjoyable and was perhaps more intimate. A very good case for the defence to those that look down on amateur theatre!