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I am always impressed when amateur societies perform in professional theatres, and again DAOS have stepped up to the plate, with a vibrant production of Legally Blonde.  

I enjoyed the production, there were some excellent performances, and the energy throughout was great.  Angela Goss always looks into the depths of a show, even if the storyline doesn’t have a lot of depth to it, and she also manages to streamline a show so well, giving an almost seamless effect which keeps the audience engaged.

I felt the Delta Nus chorus worked well, but needed tempering a bit. I got that it needed to be all-American college girls in flavor, but it was sometimes just a little bit over the top.

Chris Young had a good orchestra, but for all the frothiness of the show, the music appeared to be quite difficult, and the accompaniment not much help at times, so well done to everyone for keeping it under control!

There were some sound issues at the performance I attended, but this was not apparent at other performances according to people I’ve spoken to, I felt that sound balance between stage and pit was not 100% at all times.

Lighting was good throughout, and complimented the scenes and feel of the production.

I liked the costumes, they all looked fresh and crisp and in keeping with the characters.

Technically it was a demanding show, as there were so many scenes, but all scene changes whether by stage crew or cast were very smooth which considering the short get-in time was to be commended.  I know the Director would have put in a lot of time on that element to get it right.

Choreographically, Lynette Driver gave the cast plenty to do that was well within their capabilities, I was particularly impressed by the Whipped into Shape number, fronted by Helen Maile, who created a very upfront character as Brooke, I liked her performance very much, and she looked very sophisticated during the trial scenes, which was a good contrast to the gym look.

The dancers all created good characters and were very animated.

Everyone was well cast, and there were plenty of contrasts, keeping the interest levels high at all times.  Both dogs were very well-behaved, always difficult using live animals that aren’t trained for theatre, but I thought they coped with it well, and nice to see them for their curtain call!!

Helen Harris gave her usual high standard performance, loads of expression both facially and within the lib, I loved her version of Legally Blonde, which was full of emotion.  It must have been a very challenging show for Helen, as she had a number of quick changes, as well as being on stage for the majority of the show. Helen is always an asset to any production.

Lucy O'Hare also gave us a well-studied performance, another person who gets to the bottom of a part, and I thought her song Ireland was excellent, as were the very quirky costumes she wore. I loved the relationship between Paulette and Kyle, and loved their dance duet – such fun.

I wanted more emphasis from Justin Jeffreys as Warner, his character lost a little of its impact when confronted by the likes of Elle and Vivienne, who were both very rounded characters. I felt he wasn't fully committed to the more slimy side and rather devious element of his nature.

James Halling created a very butch Kyle which I loved, and choreographically Lynette Driver got the most she could from his duet with Paulette. Lots of energy and swagger which suited the part well – very well done.

I also thoroughly enjoyed Alex Wheeler as Carlos - his rendition of Gay or European was absolutely super.  Alex has a real feel for comedy, and isn’t afraid to get in there and be laughed at with no awkwardness in his portrayal.

Simon Rollings gave us a good portrayal as Emmett, he had a good relationship with Elle which I enjoyed, and showed how different he was to Warner.  The Department Store scene was very slick.  

Katie Barton created a nicely acerbic Vivienne – with such a different look and demeanor to Elle, a super contrast, very well achieved.

Matt Clothier gave a good performance as Callahan, again a contrast to Emmett and the other men, and showing his rather nasty side with Elle.  Nicely done.

There were so many smaller parts that I can’t mention everyone, but suffice to say everyone gave their all, and created their own characters within the piece, making it interesting on all levels.

I was a little disappointed with the bows, because the rest of the show had lots of interest, I felt they were too traditional and would have liked something a little more quirky.

I enjoyed the production and thought it worked well for the Society, despite the difficulties created by the number of scenes and short theatre time.   Overall a very energetic and fun show, with plenty of contrasting emotions and excellent directorial decisions.

Dunstable Amatuer Operatic Society

LEGALLY BLONDE” review date: 4th June 2016

The Grove Theatre, Dunstable

Director: Angela Goss MD: Chris Young

Choreographer: Lynette Driver


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