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Posts Tagged ‘Abbie Chambers’

It’s not even four years since this show ended its 2-year West End run and we’re already getting the first fringe revival here Upstairs at the Gatehouse, and a new regional production in Leicester’s Curve in a few months time. It’s a good choice for a Christmas show and a bit of a coup for this North London theatre.

A show about the deeply conservative, thoroughly traditional and quintessentially American college system would normally be a real turn-off for me, but it’s tongue is so firmly in its cheek, it’s a real hoot and a feel-good treat. I saw the West End production three times! Blonde bimbo Elle Woods follows her obnoxious ex-fiancée to Harvard only to be humiliated by him, his new girlfriend and most of her fellow students, but she’s determined to prove she’s got brains and gets herself onto the professor’s team assisting in a legal case where her girlie knowledge comes into its own. Of course, she ends up winning the case and admired by everyone (except the professor, whose sexism gets him his comeuppance), and rejects the ex-fiancée’s fresh advances for life with the much nicer Emmett. It’s a good score and it’s very funny, which is what makes it overcome its unpromising starting point.

I’m not sure the traverse staging does it many favours; despite being amplified, and accompanied by a relatively quiet band, too many words are lost. It’s also a touch rough at the edges, with a very inexperienced cast, but I felt it made up for this with enthusiasm and energy and though one can’t expect something as polished as Jerry Mitchell’s Savoy Theatre production, it won me over and proved to be a fun end to my theatrical year. Abbie Chambers makes an impressive professional debut as Elle and both the loves of her life – Robert Colvin and Ross Barnes – perform well. It’s a good ensemble in which I particularly enjoyed Jodie Jacobs characterisation of hairdresser Paulette.

If you don’t go expecting the production values and polish of the West End, you’ll have a lot of fun.

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