Legally Blonde The Musical exploded onto the stage at Crown Theatre last week with all of the pink sparkle one would expect from this pop culture favourite. The cast, bursting with youthful energy, was led by local darling, Elaina O’Connor, who at only 21 is a worthy headliner. O’Connor is a captivating performer and a talented triple threat, with an authentic sweetness that saw her dominate the role of Elle Woods.
It may be difficult to see beyond the layers of pink glitter, high-pitched voices, and stereotypes, but this performance was founded on pure hard work. Creative Directors and Producers of HAMA Productions, Marina Del Basso and Hamish McSporran, have assembled a quality production team and performers to ensure a satisfying audience experience.
Having toured the world in the performance and events industry, Perth is incredibly fortunate to be the home of Danielle Papa, whose edgy choreography crossed every genre. The strength and technical ability of the dance ensemble was flawless and the creative team used the stage well. Staging sets were simple yet supported the story well, and coupled with four huge vertical LED screens, transported the audience through time and space.
The pit was full of some top-notch musicians led by Marty Pervan as the Orchestra Director. Jake Goodsell, the Front of House operator, was also worth special note. Opening nights can sometimes be fraught with “technical difficulties”, yet there were very few lost cues and the band sounded fantastic, suggesting that further shows are only going to sound even greater!
Legally Blonde is jam-packed with high quality rising stars, a large cast of strong dancers, and singers and performers who fill out the stage with unrelenting vivacity. Annie Aitken delivered a standout performance as Paulette Bonafonte, a New England beauty therapist holding onto a hilarious fantasy of one day meeting an Irish lover. Aitken commanded the stage in every appearance with her killer vocal belt and brilliant comedic timing. Her Irish dream turns out to be Kyle, “the UPS guy”, played by Vincent Hooper who clearly had a ball hamming up the role, reciprocated by an appreciative audience.
Sweet dimple-faced Lloyd Hopkins (Emmett Forrest) played the lovely and suitably understated hero who gets the girl. Amongst this powerhouse cast are two notable performers, Bella McSporran (Serena) and Charlotte Louise (Vivienne). At just 19, McSporran has versatility, confidence, and maturity beyond her years. Louise – cast as Elle’s main antagonist (and her understudy!) – effortlessly belted out a ridiculously great range.
It is debatable whether you could find a bigger doggo loving crowd than Western Australians! Or perhaps it was the young-female-majority audience who let out a collective sigh whenever the two canine performers were seen on stage. Admittedly, Elle’s fur-baby Bruiser (Bentley) and big-eyed, French Bulldog-cross-Pug Rufus (Phoebe) were a pretty darn cute addition.
Legally Blonde The Musical showed the future of Western Australian performance is bright as local theatre companies continue to prove they have much more potential than meets the eye.