It’s snaps all round in Solihull this week as Legally Blonde crashes into The Core Theatre, courtesy of Peterbrook Players. Following their roaring success with Spamalot last year, there was a palpable excitement entering the theatre. The first of two shows to celebrate their 50th anniversary, the team brought in projections and stripped back the set, allowing for smoother scene changes and slicker transitions.
Following the story of lovelorn Elle Woods who sets her sights on Harvard in order to win back her smarmy ex-boyfriend Warner, the story was brought to colourful like by the extensive cast of Peterbrook Players. The beauty of this show (and probably one of the biggest challenges for the director) is the exhaustive list of roles available, which means many of the cast get their moment in the spotlight. Some cameo highlights included: Joe Allen and Martin Knott whose multi-roling skills are to be applauded; James Skinner as the grotesque Dewey; Audrey Martin as the brilliant Enid Hoops and of course, the wonderful canine talents of Rudi Bates and Duke Gough as Bruiser and Rufus. However, the cameo performance that stole the night was James Gough as Kyle. With the audience applauding from his first appearance, he made every single moment on the stage count and it was utterly hilarious.
There was a raft of strong supporting performances from this talented ensemble, including the spirited Greek chorus; Ed Mears as the self-obsessed, churlish Warner; Penny Simpkins as keep-fit guru Brooke who delivered a great Whipped Into Shape; Jonathan Busk made for a sleazy Professor Callahan with an impressive rendition of Blood In The Water and Laura Peters was in excellent voice as Vivienne.
Leading the way in spectacular style was a trio of fantastic performers. Jen Cole’s Paulette was a comic delight, whilst Mitch Coughlin-Miller expertly captured the role of Emmett, with his beautiful voice soaring through the auditorium in Chip On My Shoulder. And last (but by no means least), was the superb Sophia Bailey as Elle Woods. A triple threat of singing, acting and dancing, she brought Elle’s character to vibrant life.
Admittedly, there were a few technical glitches and some slight sound balance issues at times, but these are small gripes for what was a well-crafted production.
Under the assured direction of Richard Agg, he ensured a pacy production that delivered on laughs, with a suite of talented performances, supported by a fine ensemble. Plus, a huge shout out to choreographer Suzanne Ballard-Yates who created some fantastic dance numbers and Musical Director Chris Davis, who brought the music to life.
Congratulations Peterbrook Players, you’ve done it again!