Review Round Up: Legally Blonde, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Elle Woods is back in London in a new production of the musical – but what have critics had to say about it?

The Guardian: **** “At times it is so pink and squealy that it feels like a summer pantomime. If it is outlandish and ridiculous, it is heady good fun too.”

WhatsOnStage: ***** “Ellen Kane’s choreography is truly fabulous. It’s exuberant and energetic – the skipping routine in “Whipped into Shape” is so precise and demanding that you really wonder how the cast can carry on singing – but it is also sexy rather than sexualised. There’s no sense that Elle is an airhead, skittering into a world of authority; she is an outsider, but one with innate ability.”

Evening Standard: *** “This fizzy, fun, candyfloss-pink musical night out carries a message of tolerance and inclusion. It features a winning central turn from Courtney Bowman as Elle Woods, the mocked Malibu ditz who unveils a razor-sharp legal mind. There’s some killer choreography, plenty of laughs and lots of you-go-girl affirmation. The latest of this venue’s bold, scrappy musical reinventions is hugely enjoyable, though parts of it still land oddly.”

The Arts Desk: **** “Lucy Moss puts the ‘camp’ into campus with her riotous, inclusive revival.”

Time Out: *** “Still, after a first half so singularly unafraid to do its own thing that I mostly sat gawping in vague, is-this-really-happening? befuddlement, the second felt more exposing of the shortcomings of both director and the musical itself.”

Broadway World: *** “Legally Blonde is a show that calls for a certain kind of OTT quality and this doesn’t entirely bring it to the table. Elle Woods is anything but cheap. Did all the budget go into the costumes and the bathtub scene in the second act? We shall never know. What we know is that, while the material remains a banger, this candy floss revival bends but doesn’t fully snap.”

Pocketsize Theatre: *** “On the whole, this is a brave reimagining of the show. Although there are a lot of faults with the creative aspect of the show, the cast manages to make us have an immense amount of fun.”

The Independent: ***** “This production of the film-turned-musical favourite thinks outside the box and is so much better for it.”

London Unattached: “This confident production is totally 2022. In the midst of all the societal fracture and brokenness, Lucy Moss shines a mirror on us which celebrates the power of youth and oozes exuberance… it’s a massive blast of joy on a summer’s evening.”

London Theatre1: **** “But the diverse casting, unproblematic in itself, ironically highlights quite how ‘binary’ (that is, un-non-binary) the plotline remains. Still, it’s a joyous production with a palpable feel-good factor. I was humming the show’s melodies in my head on the Tube home: make of that what you will.”

Theatre Weekly: “This bold and beautiful Open Air Theatre production of Legally Blonde leaves previous productions felling like a pair of last season Prada shoes; still pretty but no longer on trend.  This Legally Blonde embraces beauty in all its forms, tears up the rule book, and creates a feel good sensation that makes for one hell of a fun night out.”

Culture Whisper: *** “What lets this production down is Tony Gayle’s sound design, which seems to fight the open-air acoustics of the theatre. On Laura Hopkins’ geometric set, shaped like a swollen pink and purple heart, with the orchestra buried in a covered pit behind the stage, songs are pelted into the auditorium via speakers in one of two volumes: loud or very loud. Some variety in tone would make for a more exhilarating ride.”

Musical Manda: ***** “Legally Blonde’s most recent production may not be to everyone’s taste, it has been updated in parts and things don’t always feel completely in keeping with the original story, however there is absolutely no doubt that this is a light-hearted, feel-good show will leave everyone grinning. A perfect show to kick off the summer!”

London **** “On the surface, this is a Legally Blonde for the Instagram-lovers and TikTokers. Elle Woods is a modern-day icon, and any Legally Blonde musical must play up to the blonde “bimbo” stereotype in part. But this Legally Blonde is an assured and snappy production which fits slap-bang into the present day. The sheer joy resonating around the auditorium as we see Elle graduate should be illegal.”

Legally Blonde will run at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre  until the 2nd July.

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