Legally Blonde held court in Woking’s New Victoria Theatre on its first night out this week where it plays until Sat 14 October.
Disclaimer: I had to go into this like a puppy for that ‘special’ vet visit – reluctantly but for the good of all, for the good of society even – my daughter* told me I had to review it because the film was what inspired her to want to study law because it showed fashion and law could mix. I have a bit of an anathema to pink but when such a heartfelt plea (guilt trip) is laid on so heavily what can you do? I put it under the ‘things we do for our kids and will mention a lot when I want a visit when they’re old’ file and set forth.
*I’ve got two daughters so whichever one you think it is – it’s the other one in the interests of me getting a good Christmas present.
After noting that in this performance the role of Elle Woods was played by Rebecca Stenhouse and the role of Margot by Sally Frith due to Lucie Jones being unwell (get well soon) we all settled our belongings about us – me ready for a little rest and the daughter on the edge of the seat, bracing herself. A woman near me shifted about in her seat a lot and moaned about not liking the dates she’d had recently ‘I thought – I’m not surprised love you don’t sit still for a minute some of us are trying to rest tsk tsk!’
Bright, fashionable Elle Woods vows to woo back the love of her life Warner Huntington III (Liam Doyle) by following him to study at Harvard Law school. Dismissed as being an airhead she studies hard and manages great results, not sure about the using cheerleaders as a great role model in place of a personal statement (as the eyes next to me slid over in a questioning way I mouthed NO! Very firmly) Elle proves her worth and comes out on top smashing through stereotypes to win her career.
It was lively, pink yes, vibrant definitely and the cast were superb. The variety of characters representing the law students from the typical, entitled, ‘ready for Senate’ to Enid Hoops’ (Nancy Hill) firebrand social justice campaigner (daughter turns with a smirk and says ‘wait, you’re about to come on look – ha ha that’s you that is – see it really is a musical for all!’ like some government appointed musical tzar) worked off each other very well. The dance routines are clever and blimey! The skipping display by Helen Petrovna as Brooke Wyndham was mind boggling – not since our playground cat’s cradle c 1972 or Malcolm McLaren’s Double Dutch has skipping ever raised my blood pressure so much, admittedly in 1972 I didn’t know what blood pressure was and is now only a polite word for a tantrum after falling over (I still say I was pushed by……… no names, can’t afford a solicitor and injurylawyers4U won’t take playground cases and it wouldn’t make a good legal musical so back to this one) but, suffice to say the display on offer in Legally Blonde is incredibly skilful and choreographed without skipping a breath whilst singing a full number – I should coco! Even I leaned forward in my seat – I never lean forward- I am too cool*
Rebecca Stenhouse as Elle was incredible her comic timing was spot on with the others and the whole cast show a chemistry and dynamic that made the whole thing flow. All without exception had great vocal skills. Special mention for strong, more bluesy at times, and sweet vocals also for Rita Simons whose performance as the good hearted but vulnerable Paulette Bonafonte was comedic and poignant and her journey to finally finding the man of her dreams brought us an unexpected step dance in front of the Irish Flag to full Riverdance from the whole cast. Poor old Professor Callahan hoisted by his own petard and the solidarity of his students who initially turning on Elle recognised unfairness, sexism and that they have had their day and kicked him into touch. Bill Ward played him admirably. People of my cultural magnitude will remember him as Charlie Stubbs (nasty builder who came to a bad end) in Coronation Street but who has had a varied and rich TV and theatre career from Sophocles to Shakespeare and beyond and now, Woking and he performs with menace and elan.
The juxtaposition between Elle’s likes and lifestyle and the stuffy halls of Harvard Law School were lightly seamed together (fashion expression – skills) by using the old Greek chorus device (of sorority friends) and sliding Cupids with silver lame shorts
So as it ended and the show, especially Rebecca Stenhouse, got a well deserved standing ovation from an enthusiastic audience of people from the very young to well, people older than that, (who were clearly fans of the film – a man walked in saying ‘are there any blokes in here at all?’ – there was I saw loads) I had to concede that the stage show was excellent, uplifting, funny and vibrant and the ways the story were told told differently from the film worked really really well. I still grunted when my daughter said ‘see saving the world isn’t all wearing black and shouting ‘keep the faith’ at each other at grungey gigs is it Mum?’ I may have grunted in agreement but she still can’t have a chihuahua at University so, ha- I win!
When I got home I tried to do the ‘bend and snap’ but only the cat was there and he’s European so didn’t notice and my leggings weren’t really up to the job – who can I sue? This has made me very litigious this theatre show, I’m going to be tripping over in supermarkets and falling off pub tables on a regular basis from now on and saying m’lud -oh ok maybe the latter is a current pastime rather than an actual industrial injury.
If you are like me you don’t really need to wait for a guilt trip (heavily laden) to be visited on you to see this show, I’d go along and enjoy yourselves, even if just to look at the face of a loved one having a brilliant time. Legally Blonde is on at New Victoria Theatre Woking until Saturday 14 October 2017 tickets can be bought from http://www.atgtickets.com
asked to writeof young lives lost
shelled and burned relentless frost
happy home to relentless fear
brave face conceals hot tears
once a hug and safety
the currency you traded
exchanged inexplicable hatred
bones exhausted hope faded
Xerxes honouring father
and so on and so forth
these wars get ever harder
millenium echoes of ‘what’s it all for?’
and weaved into the words of life
new names come
sprung from their strife
named from pain frozen hell like lava
became a young boys winter wear
running down streets without a care
cheerfully we sing of barrels rolled
Towns in Ireland myths unfold
a hundred years ago
In a room
a clock ticked
whilst cannon boomed
the heartbeat of a mother waiting to hear
that precious child coming near
the footstep on the path instead
solemnly told her
He was dead
If you see the sight of battlefield
with blood and guts and brain all spilled
sightless eyes who know no pain
Think of the ones who feel it again
and again and again and again
The ones who walk with the field inside flesh
Where their children are killed each day afresh
who cared for them fed them and loved them each day
but when the monster demanded them
waved them away
Fairy stories talk of scary dragons
demanding the people hand over their young
of evil archetype make panto players
but still it goes on and on and on
Bravery for an ideal or not is a hard won thing
sometimes pretended, just to get through the turn, away from mother,
toward an unknown king.
I pulled up outside the school the news was on and smarmy djs shocked, just reporting over and over repeating what they heard as they heard it in disbelief.
I was flustered with my toddlers in the back of the car and turned it off I didn’t register, my mind was on my baby’s birthday tomorrow what to buy and what to do the last minute bits with three kids in tow after rushing from work. I collected my son some were talking about stuff but most of us mums had rushed from work some to go back after dropping to an adoring nan and work more hours so the bills get paid or doing tea, stories, baths, reading books tucked up in bed and then turn on the computer to log in to work again. Scoop up kids and scoop up toddlers and scoop up babies and scatter our families to where they need to fit whilst we work to pay the bills and make ends meet. We had no time for news. So we went on and packed in the car, the radio still off whilst I heard about the news of the day.Reception is a very important place and the headline news in our car on 11 Sept 2001 was that some kids weren’t allowed the time on the wheeled toys at break because they weren’t being good listeners.
I had on my mind my golden haired girl’s second birthday excited for the trampoline she would unwrap tomorrow, let her loose on some of the energy that always built up to make her like a little whirlwind. She had been a whirlwind in the womb, kick kick spin. She was overdue and I had to go and have a heart trace. It should have taken 15 minutes it took over three hours because they couldn’t get 15 minutes worth of heart trace, not because they couldn’t get a heartbeat but because they couldn’t pin down a heart beat she moved so much inside, my sister drove me and we waited and waited. I apologised as much because all the magazines in the waiting room were fishing or sailing ones none of which were her choice of read, she forgave me and Whitney Houston’s My Love is Your Love played on her car radio and I already knew that whilst I studied and worked, as I carried her that she was with me they all were and when she was born she stayed awake so much outside. I walked the floors at night just her and me, I sang songs and she was soothed, My Bonny Lies Over The Ocean (sing my bonny!! She would cry to me when she could talk) You Are My Sunshine (like my Mum sang to us) the Irish Lullaby (like my gran sang to my Dad) Goodnight Sweetheart (because I love Dean Martin) and so many more. If I had to leave her she would cry, I had to go back and press her cheek against mine. No one else would do. As years went on and the school office became familiar to me, the Head of Year had me on speed dial, the slammed doors the thrown things and walking off, being the biggest enemy in the world, the near tragedies that we experience as parents, with that pulling her back from brought her to my arms again just like the baby she was and will always be.
On 11 September 2001 I took them to the shops after school, they badgered for a happy meal and I refused the junk food and started to walk back to the car park buggy laden with happy shopping and tired children, exhausted; noticing a crowd around the TV shop in the days they still had tv’s in the shop windows, I stopped to see why people standing speechless watching over and over, a plane fly into a tower, over and over and silent disbelief in retail outlets. I turned back to get the happy meal because sometimes we need to spend £2.99 on happiness. We buy stuff don’t we, when we can’t control stuff?
The next day, on her second birthday my golden haired baby thrilled, jumped up and down up and down holding on to the rail of the trampoline, her vest poppers undone and flapping, laughing like bubbles floating in the air and filling the room, her chubby arms holding tight to the trampoline safe with a rail, next to the big fire guard to keep them safe away from burning and sometimes handy for drying school uniform bits on. Keep them safe, keep them safe that is all we ever try and on the news over and over the sombre tones and the film, over and over, of a plane crashing,over and over, answerphone messages of people saying their last goodbyes, their last I love you’s because they knew they were dying.
The world was never the same again but my baby grew up, my golden haired baby and tonight she becomes an adult. Tonight I wish to hold the baby like I always do with all of them, but now every single baby I have is an adult; keep them safe, kept them safe to here and now I fear the world is mad and they are going into it………
Delft in the press of an abandoned cottage
A lone sacred heart picture on the wall
Our Lady Queen of Heaven in an abandoned bedroom
Where the Queen of the house hasn’t slept since 1939
And the baby she never held
Died this week aged 78
But stilled, the twinkle fresh in his eye
She would have loved that nature
We don’t know the modern name of what took her away
We forget arranged marriages
We forget hardships
We forget hard work
We talk of legacy and heritage
and in these concepts
Don’t allow ourselves to fit in the everyday
Western light and arts of fire
Across the world
Or to escape the life you have made with your money
Faces that pass you by can you read their story?
Or do you not care?
Crescent or whole moon – you choose
It waxes and wanes anyway even if you stand still
But you don’t
You chase the possibility of change that never happens
Because you never give time for the idea or the moon to ripen
For the lungs to finish filling with air and exhale their contribution
You are gone or in between your head is down working towards the next escape
Escapism = using the number of allotted breaths you have
And never changing anything except currencies
Another country, another city break, another bottle opened that fizzes
Another ‘I deserve this because it has been three weeks since my last’
And still the world turns, and people walk to wells and people stitch the latest fad for Amazon to sell
And in between we swing our legs on bridges and dream of the vast possibilities of northern lights and cranes that fly home
And then we do something for someone else and see them smile, or walk a bit further or sing a song
And still the world turns and people sleep outside and queue
And we say there is an inevitability about life and how it is lived and we think we live it
By booking a trip
That we work hours of hate to afford
When really we could just take a walk
Breathe our council estate air and look at the fields beyond or the water of the canal that shines
Testament to youthful work and enterprise
When animal and human, the last vestiges of a partnership existed
To make life happen
And still the world turns, and people cycle down canal paths to their jobs through the graffiti bridges by the fish basking just under the waterline in the summer or by the ducks dozing on ice in winter
Maybe you make memories in the sunshine
And that is what they are
A memory bank
You work to make a memory bank within a world where nothing has changed, laminate humanity and plan it on a spreadsheet
Bite your own flesh to feel alive
And you could have made a life that made the world a wonder every, single, day
Fiery Bird Show on Radio Woking featuring an interview with John McNally founder member of The Searchers recently returned from their Australian tour and hitting Aldershot on 5 May.
The Fiery Bird Show this week featured an interview with John McNally a founder member of The Searchers and and Mabbsy and I used it to have a retrospective of 60’s poptastic tunes laced in with the memories we had of hearing the songs in the background on the radio (he does admit to being a 70’s kid really). We also mentioned the Fiery Bird Venue fundraiser with Eddie & The Hot Rods, Dept S, Ed Tenpole-Tudor and Phoenix Chroi.
To catch up on the show and the interview with John you can listen again here
Female of The Species – The Walker Brothers – well obviously
The Clapping Song – Shirley Ellis – remember this one trying to remember the words
This Boy – The Beatles –
Anna and I, singing along, 14 years old, hairbrushes as pretend microphones. Now, I pretend my microphone is a hairbrush, my friend is singing along and the whole world is ahead of us 🙂
She’s Not There – The Zombies – Andy interviewed Colin Blunstone on his radio show this was a song for me mate
Autumn Stone – The Small Faces – one of my London songs – on the way to sound check, early evening sun, train passing Pimlico plumbers pulling in to Waterloo, head against the train window the song on the iPod, in rhythm with the train moving, the usual gig thing – going up in the afternoon, no matter how sunny and then cold out into the night air after the gig to go back to Waterloo the portal in and out of London for us suburbanites, picking up my bike at the station and cycling home, cold clear night, stars out, moon full.
Swords of A Thousand Men – Ed Tenpole Tudor – a man coming to support our Fiery Bird Fundraiser
Is Vic There? – Dept S who arranged the fundraiser with their excellent hit from the post punk halcyon days
Destruction – Phoenix Chroi – our band – the local support at the venue fundraiser with the song that raises money for Living Without Abuse a charity supporting those who are surviving abusive relationships
Do Anything You Wanna Do – Eddie & The Hot Rods – headliners at the Fiery Bird venue fundraiser and their brilliant anthem to cut the shackles and do your thing
GLORIA – Patti Smith – because her version of this song is excellent – the Them song interspersed with her own poetry to make something completely new – I believe this is what is known as ‘ripping a new one’ and fair play to her – thoroughly enjoyed and enriched from reading Just Kids and M Train.
Sweets For My Sweet – The Searchers the song John Lennon credited as being the best single to come out of Liverpool
Needles & Pins – The Searchers – Peggy, my Mum and Dad’s neighbour used to get me to babysit her kids or rather my Mum told her I would – it seemed I communicated this willingness psychically. Anyway she gave me a load of records and among them was this one – listening to it again brought me slap right back to being 13 and the start of finding out about modernism, playing bass, writing songs and then only three years later putting the bass and the songs down for another 25 years.
Brand New Day – Deep Six – a new release from a band releasing new original material
Never Buy The Sun – Billy Bragg – speaks for itself, this was the week that yet again there was controversy about truth in papers relating to Liverpool and it’s citizens characters. Interviewing John McNally a founder of a band that was part of the movement that brought the cultural output of Liverpool to the world stage – we should all stand up for people of any city who are demonised and belittled by the international money that might seek to make of us knaves and fools. People deserve better.
You’ll Never Walk Alone – Gerry & The Pacemakers, if people listen to the words of the song adopted by Liverpool, credited as a hymn and forgotten as a musical gem it can really mean something. An extra religious head teacher at assembly once poured scorn on ‘football fans making sacrilegious chants of sacred songs’ using this as an example – I wonder did anyone have the heart to tell him it was a song from a musical and no hymn at all. Bless.