Legally Blonde

Guiseley Theatre

We are very fortunate in our local area to have a number of excellent amateur theatre groups; Yeadon Amateurs, BrassNeck Theatre Company and Guiseley Amateurs. And whilst I use the term “amateur” here many of these groups produce shows that are professional in every sense of the word. So it is this week with Guiseley Amateur’s production of Legally Blonde.

Legally Blonde is a musical with music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin and book by Heather Hach. The story is based on the novel Legally Blonde by Amanda Brown and the 2001 film of the same name. It tells the story of Elle Woods, a sorority girl who enrols at Harvard Law School to win back her ex-boyfriend Warner. She discovers how her knowledge of the law can help others, and successfully defends exercise queen Brooke Wyndham in a murder trial. Throughout the show, no one has faith in Elle Woods, but she manages to surprise them when she defies expectations while staying true to herself.

Now I have to admit I am not the greatest lover of new American Musicals but these appeal greatly to the younger generation and that is whom the future of live theatre is dependent upon. Without an audience local theatre will not survive and societies must cater for this change in taste and attract these younger people to shows. The music for the show is very much in the modern pop era being upbeat and fun with more fourths, sixths and sevenths in the note progressions than the usual melodic thirds and fifths that one is used to in musicals such as Fiddler, Sound of Music etc. However, the whole cast coped admirably with these tricky chord progressions and whilst the orchestra was occasionally a little too loud for the performers making it difficult to hear the words at times, nevertheless overall both principals and chorus turned in some great performances.

I must highlight Kara Mottram for her role as Elle whose singing was tremendous. Likewise her co-star Harry Tedford as Warner turned in a great performance. They were extremely well supported by, Will Sadler as Emmett, the law teaching assistant, and Paul Forsberg as Professor Callaghan the head of the law school whose rendition of “Blood in the Water” was excellent. Other good performances came from Harriet Chaplin as Vivienne, Elle’s love rival for the heart of Warner, and Samantha Ball as Paulette the hairdresser who I thought sang the song “Ireland” beautifully. There is a big cast of supporting parts; Elle’s “Greek Chorus” and the various students at the Law School to name but a dozen or so and all of these played their parts well to make this a very fast moving and entertaining show for the many young people in the audience,

Plaudits must go to Amy Horton-Atkinson for her Directorship and Choreography and to Ian Sapiro the Musical Director. The stage at Guiseley is prohibitively small and to put on show with this large cast is not easy but Amy managed this superbly. Likewise Ian coped with this very difficult score admirably. Finally no show can go on without its stage crew and the sets designed by Tom Hughes and built by John Waite and his team were elaborate and transformed the Guiseley stage into the University of California, the Harvard Law School and various apartments, hairdressing salons et al.

This young cast seemed to have a ball with this show and this rubbed off on the predominantly young audience. I hope this continues for the rest of the performances this week. The show runs at Guiseley Theatre until Saturday 14 October each evening at 7.30 with a matinee on Saturday at 2.15. There is limited availability for Thursday evening and Saturday matinee with Friday evening and Saturday evening both being sold out. Ring the box office on 0113 2506434 or 07960 604082.