For the last 67 years, Theatre Under the Stars has been filling Vancouver’s summer nights with top quality performances in the stunning outdoor setting of Stanley Park’s Malkin Bowl, and this year is most certainly no exception.
Directed and choreographed by Valerie Easton, Legally Blonde the Musical is a pitch perfect show with an extremely talented cast that wouldn’t be misplaced on a Broadway stage. Smooth transitions and awe-inspiring dances made for a high quality production that, being my first visit to a TUTS production, had me transfixed throughout and leaping for joy at the end.
Breanne Arrigo, performing the role of Elle, instantly proves that she is a complete triple threat and portrays her character with great similarity to Reese Witherspoon’s interpretation that we all know and love. For diehard fans of the movie it’s also great to see that the stage show remains very true to its original plot with just a few added bonuses thrown in. Elle’s new best friend and beauty salon employee Paulette (Cathy Wilmot) has developed an obsession with the Irish in the musical, resulting in some hilarious ‘dancing with no arms’, the comical number “Ireland” and a baby named Seamus. Other stunning performances came in the form of ex-boyfriend Warner’s (Peter Cumins) beautiful voice, new love interest Emmet’s (Scott Walters) bumbling likability and the standout performance of Delta Nu girl Serena (Emily Henney) who lit up the stage with energy whenever she appeared. Musical numbers “Ohmigod You Guys”, “Whipped Into Shape”, “Bend and Snap” and the side splitting “Gay or European” stole the show for me personally, and of course appearances from the little Chihuahua ‘Bruiser’ and Labrador ‘Rufus’ topped off the production in terms of authenticity and adorability.
If my love of great choreography and quality performers has yet to convince the macho men of you out there, don’t let the girly facade put you off, this show might contain every possible hue of pink but it sure knows how to laugh at itself. I can assure you that without the darkness of an auditorium to shield their reactions, it was blindingly obvious that the men were enjoying it just as much as the ladies.
I cannot recommend this show enough. There are even possibilities for the kids to get involved in the TUTS musical theatre summer camp. It was a great surprise to see a group of young children performing musical numbers from Grease upon my arrival as part of their week long summer course. Their passion shone through to kick off the evening with high spirits and a sense of solidarity amongst the audience that set the tone for Elle’s sorority girl to legal mind transformation just perfectly in the evening to come.
Drinks, food, toilet facilities and seat cushions are all available on site so all you need is yourself and a cosy blanket, no excuses!