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REVIEW: Legally Blonde: The Musical at South Shields Customs House

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Legally Blonde: The Musical
South Shields Customs House
Until Sunday 13th August 2017

Legally Blonde was just what we needed to brighten up the summer. Energetic youngsters playing their hearts out and getting a well deserved standing ovation at the end. As evening night’s out go, this was a fun one.

The musical is based upon Amanda Brown’s book and the subsequent film that came out in 2001 starring Reese Witherspoon. It is a feel good story about young Elle Woods (Laura Roberts) who is getting ready to graduate form UCLA and is excited at the prospect of getting engaged to long term boyfriend Warner (James Jobling). He wants to be much more serious and so he dumps Elle and heads off to Havard Law School and reunites with Vivienne (Holly Chinneck), with whom he went to boarding school.

Elle decides to work hard in order to get into Havard and follow her love into Law. She meets up with a tough lecturer Callahan (Steven Owens), a hairdresser Paulette (Jessica Corrigan) who wants her dog back off her ex Dewey (Bonnie Belle Atack) and a rather fit UPS delivery guy Kyle (James De Lauch Hay). The big question for Elle is whether or not she has what it takes to support fitness guru Brooke Wyndham (Francesca McGibbon) in her moment of need?

Underpinning the bubbly and pink story is an examination of stereotypes and pushing oneself through glass ceilings. This is a tale of empowerment and friendship.

The cast were clearly up for this. A number of the songs were really well done - stand out performances included Laura Roberts and Robert Wilson Baker in Chip On My Shoulder; Jessica Corrigan in Ireland and the big ensemble numbers such as Gay or European? And Whipped into Shape.

Whilst having smaller roles: Erin Atack, as classmate Enid, James De Lauch Hay, as UPS delivery man Kyle, and Bonnie Belle Atack as the rapper and trailer park resident Dewey, all made an impact on stage.

This is a big ensemble piece and the cast kept the energy flowing throughout the show. When slight mishaps happened they kept going in a way that may have made more mature performers get flustered. And yes, Bruiser the dog - you did leave your mark!

Director Gareth Hunter has once again used his experience to keep these kids focussed and create an entertaining show in just 3 weeks of intensive rehearsals. Hazel Pude has worked her magic with the dance routines too. The band, under musical director Andrew Clarence, showed their know-how to work well with the young actors.

Legally Blonde was a great start to our weekend and we wish the young performers every success for the future.

Review by Stephen Oliver.

The Customs House Summer School presents Legally Blonde: The Musical runs from Friday, August 11 to Sunday, August 13, at The Customs House in Mill Dam, South Shields. Performances are at 7pm on Friday and 2pm and 6pm on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets, priced from £11, are available from the box office on (0191) 454 1234 or online at

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