Reviewed by Nicholas Linnehan
As I have stated before, I am generally not a fan of musicals. But after seeing “Oliver” at EPAC, I decided to revisit my notions that musicals are not credible sources of theater. “Legally Blonde,” which the Broadway Theatre League brought to The Forum in Binghamton on Sunday (Dec. 12), has swayed me in the other direction. I found myself laughing hysterically while feeling surprisingly connected to the plight of the main character, Elle Wood, the sorority belle who takes Harvard Law by storm.
Nikki Bohne, who played the lead, was remarkable. She has mastered the sassiness of Elle, while staying true to her vulnerability. Her ability to play her role with such three-dimensionality made rooting for her — against the insurmountable odds that she faced — irresistible.
Similarly, Jillian Wallach was impressive as Paulette. She has great comic timing and a sincerity that made her delightful. The rest of the ensemble did a great job as well; Elle’s friends, who double as her inner chorus, were a source of high-energy fun.
Some of the dance numbers were quite incredible. The sequence at the top of Act 2 was stunning: Six or seven dancers used jump ropes as their prop and managed to jump in sync. Their synchronicity floored me.
But perhaps my favorite performer in the show was Bruiser, Elle’s dog. Not only was he adorable, but his training fascinated me. He knew his part and his cues brilliantly, almost like a human actor. I will never act alongside an animal, because they steal the show, hands down!!
If you were a fan of the movie, you undoubtedly loved the musical. If you weren’t a fan, this high-energy, fun-filled yet poignant, theatrical masterpiece would have converted you. It simply sparkled.