By Laurence O’Keefe, Nell Benjamin and Heather Hach. Directed by Sharon Kiely. Joy Shepherd Performing Arts Centre, St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls, Mosman Park, WA, June 17-19, 2021
St Hilda’s production of Legally Blonde is a strong and sassy production. Performed by St Hilda’s students, with the help of a handful of young men, in the gorgeous Joy Shepherd Performing Arts Centre, the cast and crew live up to this wonderful venue by producing a top-notch show.
The cast is led by Ella Hagon, excellent in the central role of Elle, singing stunningly and giving this leading character great depth and a believable journey. Ella works beautifully with everyone in the cast, including some of the guest artists - Benjamin Albert, strong and charming as leading man Emmet, Harrison Ion, convincing, as initial love interest Warner, and Nicholas Matthews, wonderfully unlikeable as Professor Callahan.
Another standout is Tatum Walsh, who is a worthy audience favourite - with expert comic timing, as hairdresser and soon-to-be bestie of Elle, Paulette. Tatum has wonderful rapport with the other guest artist Taylor Hannah, who is loveable as Kyle (among other roles).
Character work is strong throughout. Olivia Strickland has great poise and gives us a lovely twist as “other woman” Vivienne, Velvet Goodwin has wonderful presence and energy as Brooke Wyndham and Isabella Davis is a passionate Enid Hoops. Wonderful teamwork from all of the Delta Nu Girls/Greek Chorus who maintained tangible verve throughout, as well as the Harvard students, salespeople and a plethora of cameo roles, all of whom delivered impressive performances. Execution of Alli Jane Sutcliffe’s fun choreography is precise and well-drilled.
Music Director and Conductor Jackson Griggs has mentored some strong vocal performances and lead a talented orchestra of sixteen, approximately half of whom are student musicians.
Erin Hutchinson designed an impressive multi-level multi-locale set, and transitions between scenes are efficient thanks to student stage managers Isabelle Fleming and Jemma Winch and a team of fleet-footed crew members. The show looked great throughout, with colourful and dynamic costumes designed by Sally Phipps and strong lighting design by Joe Lui. Production values are high, with slick operations and scene work.
With well over a hundred people contributing to this fun, fabulous and funny production, it is impossible to give all of them the credit they deserve. Legally Blonde was a very enjoyable show and congratulations to all involved.