2019’s Millennium Forum Youth Productions took to the stage again last night. This annual production has become one of the summer highlights in Derry in recent years. Last year being my first to visit, it was also the first show I ever returned to on the last night (it was exceptional).
This years musical is Legally Blonde. Having seen the film many years ago, I had all but forgotten the story plot. But I was given a grave reminder of it last night and it rings true for everything I personally believe in.
As the promo says: Get ready to bend and snap!
Based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the MGM motion picture, this fabulously fun international award-winning musical follows the transformation of Elle Woods as she tackles stereotypes, snobbery and scandal in pursuit of her dreams.
Elle Woods tackles all of the above and more. She follows her allegedly true love, but instead finds her true self. She vows to stay true to herself and eventually finds real true love. In that process she found education, best friends, and a career. But above all she found who she was and who she wanted to be. She changed for so many people, but in the end became her true self.
The show is very much a girlie one at times, but it resonates very important messages throughout. At times tacky, and yet at others very sophisticated, it allows for many to enjoy. Last night was opening night and some nerves were very evident. Words at times were difficult to make out, choreography was sketchy throughout (but did improve near the end), and stage changes were at times slow. But all this can be accounted for on opening night of a youth production. The vocals were not as high caliber as CATS last year, but again, once opening night is over, I don’t doubt all will prove more mature as the week goes by.
The acrobatics, the dance and the energy on stage was electric throughout. The chemistry was definitely there with Elle and Emmet.
This is a great show to go and see. It’s fun, it’s fast, and it’s highlighting many very contemporary issues. Stereotyping never disappears. Snobbery is ever present. Believing in one self is an ongoing pursuit for everyone. This show has it all. It showcases it all in a fun way. And it does hit home. The music is great, and it gets you thinking. Thinking about life and how best to approach it.
Being a youth production makes this even more relevant. Youth on the stage allows for youth of today to relate.
The show also shows us how education gives us choices. For many, education is either a necessity to a means, or some think it’s not relevant. But Legally Blonde shows how it really does give one choices. Elle embarked on her course for love, but was able to make huge decisions based on her needs and wants by the end. She choose well!
Starting off with the song Oh My God, allows this to be a hugely contemporary appeal, and ending with Legally Blonde had me singing into my bed last night. I’ve no plans to go blonde just now, but yes, I truly believe in those final words ‘let’s all go legally blonde.’ Lets all go believe in ourselves. Let’s all go live by those fine words of Shakespeare (quoted at the end of the show): Above all else, to thine own self be true.
Did I have a favourite character last night? Yes definitely – Paulette stole the show for me. Her singing, acting, and role of good and trustworthy friend won me over. Excellent singing too.
Legally Blonde runs at Millennium Forum Derry until this Saturday night, 27th July. It is definitely worth going to see. This young cast have again made summer a great one in Derry.
Tickets are now available from the Box Office. Telephone 71 264455 or visit www.millenniumforum.co.uk/ for bookings. It’ll be a crime to miss it!