“Ohmigod youguys! Ohmigod!”
So after an impromptu visit to see Legally Blonde a couple of weeks ago as a favour to a friend, my scheduled return to the show took place this weekend in order to see how the new cast members are settling in, with the first major cast change since the show opened. Since I saw it so recently (and I saw so much this week too…), I’m linking to my thoughts on seeing it again here instead of repeating them: this post will focus mainly on the newbies.
Simon Thomas has taken over as Wagner, which marks a change from casting a more famous name in this role as has been done previously despite it not really being a major role at all. I remember being surprised first time round at how little the character is featured in the show, given that Duncan James’ face was plastered all over the publicity. He does well in what is quite a thankless role really, but I did enjoy his performance and his handsomeness definitely helps! Carley Stenson did well as Margot with a more endearing and sweet take on this girl, having already developed a great chemistry with the other Delta Nu girls but Siobhan Dillon just exudes confidence as Vivienne, seeming as if she’s been in the ensemble for ages with a great performance both acting-wise and in her singing, especially that whopper of a note in the Legally Blonde Remix at the end.
Denise Van Outen has probably the hardest job in replacing Jill Halfpenny’s Paulette who was a real highlight for me and I have to admit to not really liking DVO’s spin on the role here. Part of this is my resistance to change but she wasn’t vocally as strong as I would have liked especially in the song Ireland and it generally felt like she was trying perhaps a little too hard to differentiate her interpretation by making her considerably tougher.
As before, I do think that this is a show that both starts and finishes really strongly on a musical level: I was humming ‘What You Want’ for most of Sunday and the title track is great in both of its incarnations. But despite the great routines for numbers like ‘Bend & Snap’, ‘There! Right There!’ and ‘Whipped Into Shape’, their tunes have still not worked their into my head. Still it is great fun to watch, especially for the irrepressible energy of Sheridan Smith, so catch it before she leaves in January.