Friday, 13 March 2015

Legally Blonde: The Musical...

On Tuesday 10th March 2015, I took Mother dearest to our local Grand Theatre to see Legally Blonde: The Musical. It was an early surprise for Mother's Day, but I sneakily asked if she remembered the film a month or two before, to get an idea as to whether she'd fancy going to see it and if she knew a little about the film. She said that she did, so I booked tickets for us to sit in the stalls. I was so happy when the 10th came around as I was looking forward to it for ages!

I love going to the theatre, especially to see musicals and film/book to stage adaptations. I get such an adrenalin rush after seeing a theatre performance. I come out feeling fantastic, singing parts of songs that might have been in the show and talking about the show with whoever I go to the theatre with or whoever will listen, ha ha! I love to sit in the stalls when I can, just to have an optimal viewing position and be able to see facial expressions etc. With this performance, as it was amateur, the prices were pretty decent for stall seats.

This musical was based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the famous film starring Reese Witherspoon. If you aren't familiar with the story, it's about a blonde, happy-go-lucky woman called Elle Woods. Elle loves her family, friends, Chihuahua Bruiser, the colour pink and at the beginning her boyfriend Warner. Elle's life gets turned upside down when her boyfriend, Warner, dumps her so he can get serious with his life and attend Harvard Law. Determined to get him back, Elle uses her charm to get into Harvard Law. Once there, she struggles with peers, professors and Warner. With the help of her friends, Paulette and Emmett, she quickly realises her potential and sets out to prove herself to the world, strutting her stuff, telling people about themselves and finding someone who loves her for her along the way.

This amateur premiere production was performed by the Wolverhampton Musical Comedy Company. The first thing I thought after the show was that it was one hell of an amateur performance. It was as good as any West End performance that I've seen. The acting was superb, the singing was fabulous (I still have the songs in my head!) and the dancing was top notch. Katie Astbury who played the main role of Elle Woods was simply outstanding. She was pretty much in the whole show, acting, singing and dancing and I take my hat off to her (and the whole cast) for remembering everything! That's what terrifies me the most about theatre performances, when I think about myself in their shoes, remembering all the spoken words, the lyrics to songs, the dance routines and trying to be a different person on stage. Those that perform in theatre productions are a huge inspiration to me and I assume a lot of other people. At just 19, Katie finished her studies at a local school last year and although she has played a few roles in the past with various companies in the West Midlands, this was her first role with MUSCOM and what she describes as being the most challenging role she has ever played. I just want to put it out there and say that you did the role justice girl! #snaps.

Katie Astbury as Elle Woods & Fiona the Chihuahua as Bruiser.

The show was two and a half hours long, but I didn't want it to end if I'm honest. It was fast-paced, colourful, engaging and there were plenty of laugh out loud moments along the way. Being amongst the audience you could hear that people were eagerly awaiting the famous bend and snap scene, as well as the scene where Elle wins her court case at the end. That's the thing with film to stage show adaptations, people always look forward to the most famous scenes and this performance didn't fail to please from start to finish. Paulette Bonafonte was portrayed excellently by Harry Golightly, she was quirky and hilarious. The arrogant, full of himself Warner Huntington III portrayed by Tye Harris was spot on and the friendly, supportive nature of Emmett Forrest portrayed by Liam Sargeant, who stuck by Elle the whole way through Harvard Law, was genuine and admirable. The whole cast were wonderful and you could really see not only how much hard work had gone into the production but also how much everyone was thoroughly enjoying themselves! No one was lagging behind and I predict that they'll all go onto bigger and better things.

We do have West End performances come to our local theatre but we have just as much amateur performances and they aren't something that put me off. For those of you that aren't as keen as you prefer to see well-known faces perform, I'd say give it a go, you won't be disappointed! I've loved all amateur performances just as much as any West End production that I've seen and just because the individuals are amateur, doesn't mean they are any less talented or rehearsed. A lot of time and effort go into these performances to make sure they are flawless and that audiences will enjoy every minute of them.

Have a look at amateur theatre companies near to you and see what productions they are putting on. It really is a fab afternoon/evening out and you'll be supporting local talent!

Legally Blonde: The Musical is on from the 10th-14th March 2015 at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. I know that other amateur companies from around the country are also performing this show throughout the coming year, so keep your eyes peeled!

You can find out more about MUSCOM on their website.

Are you a fan of the theatre? What's your favourite theatre production?

Thanks so much for reading!
Gem XxOo
Images courtesy of Grand Theatre and Native Monster.

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