Review: Legally Blonde the musical

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‘Omigod you guys’ - I have to admit I wasn’t expecting too much of Legally Blonde the musical.

I reviewed the same production when it toured last year and despite featuring the same talented leading lady Faye Brookes as Elle Woods and many same cast members, it really wasn’t really up to much.

But this extravaganza at Manchester’s Opera House was a totally different animal.

It wasn’t really the addition of Gareth Gates, starring as preppy legal loser Warner, or Jennifer Ellison, starring in by far the best character role of trailer-park raised optimist Paulette, that turned the production around - although they were both excellent with Jennifer’s comic-timing spot-on.

Instead, some inspired genius behind the scenes has taken the whole thing apart, and element by element eliminated the dross, last year’s clunky staging and under-rehearsed ensemble performances and somehow seamlessly injected magic that transformed the show into a triumph.

Where last year I sat bored through several numbers, this time I was enraptured throughout. The premise, the jokes, the music remained much the same but somehow the audience were listening intently to the funny, clever, lyrics instead of staring into space or fiddling idly through texts on their phone.

Iwan Thomas made a very watchable and loveable Emmett. And a word for Faye Brooks who, as Elle, always had the vocal chops for the role but has somehow turned her performance up several notches, making her character much more compelling.

She is virtually unrecognisable as the same actress, a subject under hot debate at the interval in the press bar.

A must-see, glittery, pink camp-stravaganza of fun with loads of belly laughs that saw the audience all leave with big grins on their faces. Snaps to that.