For 65 years, Littlehampton Musical Comedy Society has entertained the people of Littlehampton and district with first-class shows, and this year’s special ‘Sapphire’ year was no exception as the Society decided to tackle ‘Legally Blonde – The Musical’, a multi award- winning show first staged in London’s West End in 2009 and only recently released for amateur societies to perform.
As with most musical comedy shows, the storyline of a ‘ditzy’ blonde ending up in Harvard Law School and solving a murder, is only secondary to the song and dance routines, which in this show are plentiful, fast and furious!
One of the songs – ‘Whipped into Shape’ can be used to describe Kelly Manchee’s excellent direction skills, as she got the show going at a fast and furious pace, which never flagged during the whole show. There were seamless scene changes and bright, eye-catching costumes, which all added to the enjoyment of the show.
Musical Directors, Daniel Lacey and Harry Wells and their accomplished eleven-piece band, were hidden from view, but as most of the dialogue was sung, as well as the twenty show numbers, they hardly stoppped playing throughout the entire show, a veritable tour-de-force! Special mention must be given to 16 year-old Harry, a pupil at Felpham Community College, who surely must be the youngest Musical Director in the Society’s history?
The varied, and at times frantic choreography, was is the capable hands of Karen Etherington, and once again the whole cast showed their talents in dances ranging from Irish to Acrobatic – and everything inbetween!
Luckily for the audience, there was a glossary of American words in the programme, which helped with all the ‘Americanisms’ unfamiliar to British ears. Capturing the true American flavour of the show was Saxona Woolgar, who played leading lady Elle. She was thoroghly at home in this very demanding role, singing non-stop for the whole show, and never once letting her American accent drop. Her performance was truly professional, and she was supported by a large cast of equally talented players, in the form of male suitors Craig Etherington, Luke Martin and Tim Kimber, who were all excellent in their roles.
Beverley Seal had perfect diction and a great singing voice in her supporting role of Paulette, and Michelle Shepherd-Ede gave yet another notable characterisation as murder suspect Brooke Wyndham. Likewise, Charlotte Grimes and Victoria Unsworth really got into character in their roles as Vivienne and Enid.
Saskia Whittle, Amanda Osborne and Amber Newbery gave dynamic and energetic performances as Elle’s three college friends, and all three are extremely talented singers and dancers.
All the leading actors were supported by a hard-working chorus, who sang, danced and moved props and scenery effortlessly off-stage.
All the cast were very brave to appear with not one, but two dogs! Charlie as Bruiser Woods the Chihuahua, and Miss Peggy Pops as the pugnacious Rufus. Both canines played their roles to perfection, and it was heartwarming to see that a collection was made at the end of each show for the Dogs Trust.
Legally Blonde was a show that gave LMCS a chance to show off their enormously talented memb ers, in an up-to-date production and was an appropriate choice for the Sapphire Anniversary, as this show was a real ‘gem’ and a ‘shining’ example of how much talent the Society nurtures.
There were well-deserved ‘Full Houses’ for all performances, and patrons are advised to book early for the LMCS next production – Dick Whittington – at the Windmill Theatre, January 18th - 21st.