Legally Blonde – The Musical, Aylesbury Waterside

Editor’s Rating

When Aylesbury’s Waterside Theatre opened in October 2010, its marketing tagline talked of “Bringing the West End to Waterside”. As it launches its second spring season, that promise is certainly being fulfilled: in May, it will play host to the Lincoln Center’s revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific that recently played at the Barbican, whose stars (including Samantha Womack, Dan Koek and Alex Fearns) will all be joining the production in Aylesbury. The season will also see Hull Truck’s production of Alan Bennett’s The Lady in the Van and the National Theatre’s Travelling Light, starring Anthony Sher.

And it is in evidence this week, too, as the touring production of Legally Blonde – The Musical comes to town while its big West End sorority sister is still running (for now) at the Savoy Theatre. Last week, of course, the Olivier award-winning West End show posted closing notices. That must be frustrating for Aylesbury in a couple of ways: first, the show they’ve been promoting has been in the theatrical headlines because it’s not been doing well enough to stay open. Also, because there’s nothing like a closing notice to indicate the possibility of cut-price tickets for the London show. With Chiltern Railways’ annoying-but-better-than-most train service into the capital, the touring version of Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin’s musical faces stiff competition from its West End counterpart.

The good news is that, one or two patchy spots apart, it withstands the comparison well.

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Legally Blonde – The Musical, Aylesbury Waterside3Scott Matthewman2012-02-01 10:18:09When Aylesbury’s Waterside Theatre opened in October 2010, its marketing tagline talked of “Bringing the West End to Waterside”. As it launches …

Blink! – the double-take

Last night, Paul and I went back to the [Above the Stag]( theatre in Victoria to see _Blink!_, a revue about songs from musicals that closed early. For both of us it was our second time to see the show, although we’d previously seen it on different nights. My first was on press night, when I [reviewed it for _The Stage_](

When I reviewed the show, I said:

> The weakest elements come when the actors must drop out of character and narrate the history of the dud shows direct. While there is an element of humour to be had from their frequent fluffs, more work clearly needs to be done

Thankfully, those bits did seem to have improved since press night – there were certainly far fewer occasions where the actors dried. They still feel clumsy and stilted, though, and it feels wrong to ask a performer who’s just finished belting a number to then switch to a straight narration.

The core of shows like this is not the narration, though, but the performances of the songs. There were points which didn’t work quite as well as on press night, but then you always get variation from show to show. And although there was a full house last night, as there was the last time I saw the show, the audience wasn’t quite as receptive, which has a big impact on the onstage performance.

_Blink!_ is on at Above the Stag until August 16 — which means that current West End flop _[Too Close to the Sun](, which will have closed by then, qualifies for inclusion…

To finish, here’s a YouTube version of Debra Monk performing one of the songs included in the show, _Everybody’s Girl_, from Kander and Ebb’s **Steel Pier**. In the show, it’s performed by Julia G Addison (and in the after party, **Legally Blonde** star Sheridan Smith proclaimed, “I’ve found my new audition song!”)