A touch of Hollywood sparkle and glamour arrived in cold, dark Manchester with the college production of Legally Blonde, the Musical, playing to packed houses for three nights in December. Director Danny Price opted for a highly effective minimalist set with projected backdrops to create the feel of the varied California and Massachusetts locations, as the modern morality tale unfolded. A suitably bewigged Eve Reynolds was impressive as Elle Woods, changing from naïve party girl to empowered young woman; her life initially defined by her relationship to a man, but ultimately mistress of her own destiny. Oliver Barton played it straight as fall guy Warner Huntington, whilst Louis Wright was believable and appealing as the ‘new’ romantic interest. All three coped well with the vocal requirements of the score and Nina Morton deserves special mention for her fine delivery of a moving ballad.
An outstanding feature of this production was the ensemble work, choreographed by Pippa Hudson. They were charged with generating the all-American energy and excitement needed and this they accomplished with aplomb; well rehearsed, slick, focused and engaged, they swept the production along with great pizazz. Music Director David Lloyd-Mostyn had assembled a marvellous group of instrumentalists to accompany the singers, with Matteo Rawlinson on guitar, Rachel Sweeney on bass, Patrick Cusack on drums and Bob Koropisz, Chris Hardy and Ethan Clarke adding brass and woodwind. Isobel Priest shared keyboard duties with David Lloyd-Mostyn. The standard of sound and lighting for Loreto productions has been set very high and technicians Tony Fennell and Tom Leonard ensured that this remains the case, with the actors free from worry about technical issues.
After a most enjoyable, feel good evening, audiences went home with all thoughts of the original Reese Witherspoon film banished from their minds, replaced by memories of another successful Loreto production.