I’ve long been a supporter of Blackout Theatre Company. I’ve seen them grow and change, evolving into something pretty spectacular. I feel well qualified to say this is one of the best shows they have produced.
Directors Cierwen Newell & John Hanna make a formidable directing team, they’ve worked hard. The cast and crew have worked hard. This show is slick. This show is good. All the pieces are there, all the nostalgia, Oh My God you guys it’s fabulous. The creative team has really created something special. Choreographer Daniel Lavercombe has whipped his dancers into shape with high energy seamless routines while MD Alvin Mark commands his orchestra with expertise.
From the moment the sparkly pink curtains opened revealing a stage awash with pink it was a delight. This fish out of water rom com begins, the orchestra commences the opening number and we meet the ensemble for the first time. The energy is high, the choreography is on point. The audience cheer, they know they are in for a treat and the team does not disappoint.
The cast is stacked with talent. Every performer gives their all and it is clear that this show is on the back of the amazing women. Back in 2001 Elle woods taught a generation of girls to be who you are and step into your power. A generation later and those themes live on in Blackout Theatre’s interpretation. Jordan Miller is a powerhouse as Elle Woods and had the audience eating out of her pink pumps from beginning until finale. Watch this girl, she is an absolute star and we will see much more of her I’m sure. On opening night the audience rose to their feet in appreciation. This will not be the last standing ovation Miler will get I am sure.
Miller is supported by a strong female chorus. At this point I like to talk about standouts, but how do you do that when they all worked together so well? The Delta Nu girls knock it out of the park and they look great too. It would have been easy to put the Delta Nu in pink or the same outfits, but the colour palette was very well considered with pops of colour that leave pink and sparkles to Elle. Hats off to Katie and Ruth Griffiths who have worked hard to replicate iconic looks from the movie while sprinkling some of their own magic dust. All of the characters were looked after in the costume department.
Rounding out the stellar ladies is of course Elles' nemesis Vivienne (Katie Staddon), Elles’ Client Brooke (Brenna Smith) and the lovable best friend Paulette (Marika Zorlu). Staddon as Vivienne is so easy to love to hate and whose voice is so powerful in the Legally Blonde remix. Smith really impresses in the first number of Act 2, how she manages to sound so good while doing a full on jump rope routine I will never know. Zorlu does a great job of an iconic character and her pipes. I nearly booked a flight to Ireland after hearing her sing!
While this is a show where the ladies take the lead, the boys more than hold their own. Emmett (Cameron McCredie) Elle’s eventual love interest delivers a solid performance alongside Miller as the nice guy, quirky and steadfast who helps her realise her true potential. Warner (Luke Quinn) whom Elle spends most of the show infatuated with is well handled, he has the smarmy attitude in droves and the audience reacted to his great characterisation. Callahan (Adam Ring ) the would be mentor is capably played balancing a line between tough and sleezebag.
Don’t take your eyes off the ensemble either. They are all wonderfully rounded characters in themselves whether in Paulette’s salon or the courtroom, each character has a purpose and is engaging. Pay attention to Judge Meyers (Fiona Brennan), John Hanna or Jordan Anderson hilarious character work even when the spotlight is elsewhere. A special shout out has to go to Robert Hall who manages to steal the show just by walking on stage.
The show moved seamlessly with few blackouts. All props and simple set pieces moved on quickly by the cast and stage crew. A good use of levels, steps and entries/exits keep the audience interested and use the space expertly. Technology is effectively used to denote scene settings through the use of projections, Newell and Ring deliver in droves. The skilful use of projection would rival any professional production. Watch carefully and you’ll see blinking festoon lights, falling snow and running water to name a couple. My favourite was a giant pink glittering flag.
Also I know they say they don't work with children or animals but I would say an exception could be made for Bruiser (Teddy Carter) and Rufus (Zeus Quinn) who are just so adorable.
Wondering if to take the kids? The adult comedy will go over their heads and the colourful magic of the theatre will enchant.
4.5 Pink Gavels out of 5
Photos provided by Light Up Photography