Faced with the challenge of reinventing the 2001 picture, Kinetic Arts Theatre has once again blown the roof off of Cardiff’s Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with their latest production, Legally Blonde: The Musical. Under the directorial and choreographic guidance of Kris Crowley, the production team, cast and band combine to deliver an energetic and heart-warming performance.
The story follows Elle Woods (Jade Wellbeloved), a Californian sorority queen and cheerleader, whose life takes a dramatic U-turn as she follows what she believes to be the man of her dreams to Harvard Law School. As Elle struggles through her academic and personal life as a trainee lawyer, she seeks comfort in Emmett (Karl Veryard), a disciple of the feared Professor Callahan (Kit Sweet). Proving herself and her peers wrong, Elle discovers a hidden instinctive hunger for the law and allows herself to become more than the stereotypical image of a blonde bimbo she initially displays.
Wellbeloved embodied the character superbly and was true to form. The development of the relationship between Elle and Emmett was portrayed brilliantly – their expressions, tone, and gestures mirrored the development between the two at a pace the plot allowed. Paulette (Rebekah Shalom), the eccentric owner of a salon that befriends Elle, was a particular highlight of the show – her comedic timing was perfect and she utilised facial expressions most actors would kill for! She was a big, warm hug of a character.
The cast as a whole demonstrated impressive vocals throughout, but a special mention must go to Elle (Wellbeloved), Emmett (Veryard), Paulette (Shalom) and Viv (Grace Morrisson) for their fantastic vocal performances. Highlights from the musical numbers included; “Ireland” performed by Paulette, “Chip on My Shoulder” by Elle, Emmett and Greek Chorus, “Whipped Into Shape” by Brooke, Callahan and Company, which also featured a very impressive synchronised dance routine with skipping ropes, executed with precision, and “Gay or European” by Elle, Callahan and Company. The choreography was performed excellently and it was evident that the whole cast was meticulously drilled – a credit to Kris Crowley, and Liz York and Emma Pawsey as musical directors.
There were a few technical errors that did detract from the performance slightly, such as microphones not picking up entire lines and the music occasionally overpowering some of the voices. There were also a few logistical errors relating to the set and staging, particularly in the transition between scenes. However, these minor issues did not detract from the overall enjoyment of the show and the cast reacted very professionally. It’s important to note that this was the opening night and I’m confident these minor issues will be resolved in the remaining performances.
With a very dedicated and talented cast, director and production team, Kinetic Theatre Arts continue to perform to a very high standard and I look forward to their next production.
The show will run until Wednesday, April 12th – there are a limited number of tickets available here: https://tickets.rwcmd.ac.uk/?task=displayProduction&prodid=77371&seasonid=1314
Photography: Pete Rankin