Toronto’s Legally Blonde: The Musical is illegally fun
Like most people, I was familiar with Legally Blonde from the Reese Witherspoon movie of the same name. After all, it’s on TV more often than Seinfeld reruns.
The story is familiar. Girl meets boy; boy leaves girl; girl grows into a mature human being.
I’m not sure how well the story or message plays in feminist circles. I am certain, however, that Legally Blonde: The Musical is a LOT of fun. Before the play began, we browsed the playbill. Noticing the large cast, I thought out loud “With this many people, there’s no way one person is getting noticed.”
I was wrong. As great as the ensemble is, there are some standouts. Anna Hurshman is stellar in the lead role of Elle Woods. Her voice is a treasure. She also has incredible charisma. She commands the stage and it is difficult to take one’s eyes off of her. That being said, she also knows when to step back a bit and let others shine.
And shine they do. There are so many stars that it is like watching a cloudless summer sky in Muskoka.
There are a couple of scenes that are duets between Elle and Paulette (Heidi Thomas). These two women work beautifully together. Both of them are immensely talented, and it could have easily decayed into a diva parade. Instead, their chemistry really makes it fun for everyone. It looked like they were having fun too, I hope that’s true. It was a bit like watching the female version of Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor of Blue Rodeo.
The choreography and talent of the cast is actually scary good at times. “Whipped Into Shape” opens the second act, and it is really something splendid. There’s a wild ferocity on display but at the same time an admirable display of discipline and rehearsal as well. It’s truly Olympian and wonderful to witness. Alyson Workman is another standout in the role of Brooke Wyndham.
Legally Blonde is a timeless story yet also current. I couldn’t help but think of Mitt Romney at times. Both Romney and Elle are super-rich white people from a weird place trying to get into a prestigious institution. Romney wants The White House. Elle wants Harvard Law School. One is a skin-deep, superficial android with perfect hair. The other is Elle.
Another highlight is “Gay or European”. This song was performed exquisitely; perfectly. I whispered to Michelle, “It’s like one of those gigantic Marx Brothers numbers!” You’ll be laughing, cheering, in hysterics and wishing you had the physical prowess of the people on stage when you see it. In short, you’ll smile until your cheeks hurt.
The set is minimal and unobtrusive. That’s one of the things I love about The Lower Ossington Theatre. Set designer like Michael Galloro has created a subtle garden in which amazing talent flourishes.
It’s incredible how fast Legally Blonde flies by. We were in the theatre for more than two hours but it felt like twenty minutes.
There were only minor things we disliked. The placement of Elle’s microphone was one. We also wish that the doggies Buckminster and Roxy would have come out to take a bow!
–Legally Blonde: The Musical is playing at The Lower Ossington Theatre (100 Ossington) until March 31
-Shows run Wednesday to Saturday at 8pm with Sunday matinees at 4pm
-Tickets range from $45 – $75
-Tickets are available online, in person or through the box office at 416-915-6747