Photos by Richie Akers
|Lauren Galliart (l) as Elle Woods|
Well, not quite. It turns out law school is really hard work. And Elle, who shows up to class dressed entirely in pink and carrying her chihuahua, has to work extra hard to get people to take her seriously. But with the help of Emmett (Zach Parker), she gets a "Chip on Her Shoulder", buckles down, and shows what she can do while still being true to her roots.
It sounds like a cheesy premise, and it is, a bit. But Legally Blonde avoids many of the traps of musicals based on popular movies, with a tight book and energetic, infectious songs. The lyrics are simplistic but funny, and more importantly they keep the story moving right along. And Elle's story, silly as it is, is inspiring to anyone who's ever struggled to learn a new skill. TCR's production is fairly strong: it realizes the show well with some exciting choreography, a very flexible set, and some great acting from the lead.
Lovar Davis Kidd's brand of hip-hop choreography is perfect for a show like this. Whether the sisters of Delta Nu are "shaking junk" or the party animals on Spring Break are trying to tempt Elle away from her studies, the moves are exciting, energetic, and original. Particularly effective is "Whipped into Shape," the Act II opener, which is based around highly aerobic jump-roping. The dancers do a great job with some really challenging stuff. At one point, Brooke (Amanda Larson) has to freeze -- as the video is "paused" -- in a position that is both comical and quite strenuous to maintain.
|The cast of Legally Blonde shakes its junk|
The show also had some great acting, particularly from Galliart. Her Elle is very sympathetic: peppy without being excessively so, enthusiastic, and very very sharp when it's called for. Her character choices make it easy to go on Elle's journey; when things are going well, she beams with confidence, and her half-cocked satisfied grin makes it really easy to like her. She's equally effective at playing the more nervous moments, becoming stiff and unsure when Elle's ambitions are constantly thwarted. She dances and sings with ease and enjoyment, and it's fun to go on her journey with her.
|Tim Arnold as Warner, Lauren Galliart as Elle,|
and Zach Parker as Emmet
Some of the ensemble acting is a little too broad, as if the actors are trying too hard to be funny. For the most part, though, the style fits Legally Blonde's tone, and there are some great comic moments. Jordan Hougham and Byrant Duffy stand out with some very funny acting, and Tevin Jones and Danny Mulka execute some amazing dancing. The group as a whole does some really excellent work, and it's this energy -- along with Prince's direction -- that makes Legally Blonde a fast, fun, and memorable show.
Legally Blonde runs through March 23 on TCR's mainstage. Tickets are available here.