Barrow Youth Theatre's production of Legally Blonde delivers a high-energy night of entertainment, with talented actors, talented singers and talented dogs that one would expect from a professional cast.
The story centres around Elle Woods (Lucy Hardy, who hardly left the stage throughout the production, and did a fine job of leading the audience through her story), who decides to enrol on a law degree course in order to pursue her ex-boyfriend Warner (Jackson Davinson). Warner has settled with a new girlfriend now, Vivienne (Emma Hollas), and Elle finds herself struggling to keep up in a class led by the formidable Callahan (Alex Thompson). Luckily, Elle has Emmett on her side (Macauley Crossley as Elle's likeable but unlikely love interest).
The first half of the night was filled with memorable songs and well choreographed dances, with Elle's fellow sorority girls, led by Poppy Melton, Poppy Greveson and Phoebe Butler, acting as a "Greek chorus" throughout. Each member of the chorus committed fully to every dance, all choreographed by director Abi Crossley, with assistance from Elle Woods herself, Lucy Hardy.
The second half was more plot heavy, with Elle becoming involved in a murder trial, representing exercise guru Brooke (Rebekah Bruce, who somehow managed to sing whilst using a skipping rope without getting out of breath). Despite the second half lacking the same memorable dance numbers, the cast were able to keep the audience's attention, and the many twists and turns of the trial were fascinating to watch (who knew the technicalities of getting a perm could prove so important?).
One of the stand out moments of the show for me came courtesy of Mia Creasey, as Elle's friend Paulette, who delivered an excellent rendition of the song "Ireland", in which Paulette shares her relationship failures with the audience. Don't fear though - things take a turn for the better for Paulette in the shape of sexy delivery driver Kyle (ETC's very own Ed Turner, who was described as "walking porn", something we will be sure to never let him forget).
If I had to find any nitpicks (which is a hard thing to do in such a professional performance), the amount of scene changes meant there was an over-reliance on blackouts, which resulted in some moments of dead stage time. However, the sets were all fantastic and special mention should go to stage manager Ed Dring and his team for bringing such a complicated production to life.
Overall, this was a great night of entertainment, proving yet again that amateur theatre can be just as good as professional theatre (if not better!) for a fraction of the price. The only question that remains is... how did they all have so much energy? I felt exhausted just watching them!
Barrow Youth Theatre's production of "Legally Blonde" plays again tonight and tomorrow (19th/20th November). See their Facebook page for more details: https://www.facebook.com/barrowyouththeatre
Tom Morley, November 2022