The Court Theatre, Bernard Street, Addington, Christchurch

26/11/2016 - 21/01/2017

Production Details

OMG you guys! Legally Blonde the Musical is coming to Christchurch!  

Audiences are bound to be awestruck by The Court Theatre’s summer musical, Legally Blonde the Musical. The award-winning Broadway sensation, based on the Amanda Brown novel and hit 2001 film of the same name, is a musical comedy that smashes stereotypes and absolutely explodes on stage.

Perky blonde college student Elle Woods is accustomed to getting what she wants and has her life all planned out, right down to the boyfriend she plans to marry. Those plans are turned upside down when her boyfriend dumps her for someone more ‘serious’, motivating Elle to enrol at Harvard Law School so she can prove she’s capable of much more than anyone thought. As Elle wins over her sceptical classmates she also becomes involved in a high-profile trial where her particular world view may prove the key to cracking the case.

At the helm of this year’s summer blockbuster is Director, Stephen Robertson.

“When you come along to Legally Blonde the Musical you will find an abundance of energy, a ridiculously youthful vibe which is, of course, unapologetically pink, and an ‘OMG’ song and dance spectacular. We have a stunning cast of singers and dancers who bring to life this award winning Broadway musical,” says Robertson.

Robertson is not only directing the musical extravaganza but is also the choreographer and costume designer. The man of many hats works very closely with The Court’s dedicated costume department who assemble each of the specially designed costumes.

Also designed and built in-house at The Court is this year’s highly complex and technical set. The set is built to propel the audience into Elle’s world – everything the audience sees will be filtered through Elle’s eyes, pink and stylish. This year’s summer musical, which is sponsored by Golden Healthcare and The Press, is bigger and better than ever.

Playing the title role of Elle is newcomer, and recent graduate from Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School, Ellie Neal. Ellie has also trained under the tutelage of David Strasberg at The Lee Strasberg Film and Theatre Institute in LA. Her previous theatre credits include The Wizard of Oz, Into the Woods and Mamma Mia. Ellie also starred as Morgan in the post-apocalyptic web series End of Term (TVNZ on Demand). Legally Blonde the Musical will be her Court Theatre debut.

This high-energy show has brought back a number of Court favourites to join Ellie on the stage, with Ali Harper taking on the role of Paulette, Roy Snow as Professor Callahan and Cameron Douglas as the charming Emmett.

Also taking to the stage are Niki and Bella who co-share the role of Elle’s dog Bruiser, alongside TJ and Boss who co-share the role of Paulette’s dog Rufus. All four of the pretty pooches are working hard in rehearsal and are dedicated to fully embracing their starring roles.

On the creative team, Musical Director Richard Marrett has returned to work on this year’s ‘pretty in pink’ summer extravaganza which will be supported by a live band.

After spending the last few weeks in rehearsal with the cast, Richard is thrilled with the performers who are taking to the stage this year. “Between the vocalists in the cast and the members of the band, we have some of the best talent in the country performing the music of this show.”

Artistic director of The Court Theatre, Ross Gumbley, says, “It’s quirkier than the movie. It’s got a wonderful, unpredictable sense of humour about it.  It’s great fun, it’s a little bit sexy but what is really exciting about the piece is that at its heart it says that in this day and age, if you’re a feminist, can you still dress how you like? It demonstrates how we shouldn’t really judge books by their covers. I can’t recommend this show highly enough.”

Legally Blonde the Musical is on at The Court from 26 November to 21 January.

“Let’s relish the support both of a fake-Greek chorus dressed as cheerleaders and of two cute, unnaturally obedient dogs. Let’s agree that Legally Blonde is, well, fun.” Benedict Nightingale, The Times

“OMIGOD! I tried, I really tried to hate this show, but resistance is futile. It’s going to be a huge hit and if you’re a chap, your wife or girlfriend is almost certain to drag you along. You might as well give in gracefully now.” Charles Spencer, The Telegraph

“Legally Blonde is a winner. It’s energetic and amusing, with a sprightly sense of pace, and all but the most flinty-hearted theatregoers will leave it flushed with delight.” Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard

The Tonkin & Taylor Main Stage at The Court Theatre
26 November 2016 – 21 January 2017
Show Times:
6.30pm: Mon/Thurs
6.30pm: Forum Mon 28th November post show with cast & crew
7.30pm: Tue/Wed/Fri/Sat
2.00pm: Matinee Saturday 10December and 17 December
Ticket Prices: 
Adult: $67-$74 | Under 25: $45-$53 | Child (under 18): $41-$49
Senior 65yrs+: $55-$62 | Group 20+: $55-$62 | Supporter: $52-$59
Bookings: phone 03 963 0870 or visit

Running Time: approx. 2 hours, 30 minutes, including interval

Show sponsor Golden Healthcare Group
Cast & Crew sponsor The Press

Ellie Neal:    Elle Woods
Damon Grebert-Wade:  Warner Huntington III
Cameron Douglas:  Emmett Forrest
Ali Harper:  Paulette Bonafonté
Roy Snow:  Professor Callahan
Jane Leonard:  Vivienne Kensington
Lucy Porter:  Enid Hoopes
Kira Josephson:  Brooke Wyndham/Ensemble
Nomi Cohen:  Serena
Erin Wells:  Margot
Monique Clementson:  Pilar
Emily Burns:  Da Joyce Riley/Ensemble/Understudy Elle
Holly Stokes:  Kate/Chutney/Ensemble
Kim Garrett:  Judge/Store Manager/Ensemble
Ben Freeth:  Aaron/Ensemble
Olly Humphries:  Kyle/Ensemble
Greta Casey-Solly:  Mum/Whitney/Ensemble
Nick Purdie:  Dad/Winthrop/Dewey/Ensemble
Emiliano Pereyra:  Nikos/Grandmaster Chad/Padamadan/Ensemble
Brylee Lockhart:  Courtney/Cashier/Ensemble
Isaac Pawson:  Carlos/Pforzheimer/Ensemble
Jack Marshall:  Lowell/Reporter/Ensemble
Jeremy Hinman:  Ensemble
Hayden Joseph Withers:  Kiki/Ensemble
Julia Bell:  Stenographer/Ensemble
Gemma Kearney:  Dance Captain/Ensemble
Niki:  Bruiser
Bella:  Bruiser
TJ:  Rufus
Boss:  Rufus

Ben Eldridge:  Guitar
Tim Sellars:  Drums
Chris Wethey:  Bass
Matt Everingham:  2nd Keys
Hamish Oliver:  Swing

Production Team:
Harold Moot:  Set Designer
Grant Robertson:  Lighting Designer
Ben Rentoul:  Sound Designer
Glen Ruske:  Sound Designer
Dave Spark:  AV Designer
Darren McKane:  Lighting Operator
Jonny Keating:  Sound Operator
Christy Lassen:  Properties
Sarah Douglas:  Costume Manager
Ioan Bramhall:  Construction Manager
Ashlyn Smith:  Stage Manager
Tim Bain:  Assistant Stage Manager
Scott Campbell:  Stagehand/Dresser  

Theatre , Musical ,

Fun, heart-warming, unexpectedly moving, very affirming

Review by Naomi van den Broek 27th Nov 2016

I am utterly unprepared for how overwhelmingly joyous The Court Theatre’s production of Legally Blonde the Musical is. It is the feel good equivalent of five hours of internet cat videos combined with a Zumba class and a block of Whittaker’s Creamy Milk chocolate rolled into one.

I have never been part of an audience that so regularly breaks into spontaneous applause and cheering with such frequency during a performance. The standing ovation in the opening seconds of the curtain call is totally unsurprising and also very much deserved by the cast and creatives who bring it to life.

Remaining true to its source material, the film Legally Blonde, the musical has been delightfully realised with clever lyrics and catchy music. It translates very well to the intimate stage of the Court Theatre where all the fine detail of Stephen Robertson’s production can be experienced at close range. It’s also so pleasing to see a show produced by this theatre company that is unashamedly a woman’s story, and one that has so many strong and varied female roles. Don’t be duped by the pink and sparkle; this is an empowering tale about staying true to yourself and not taking others down to get to the top.

There are many words to be written about the strengths of this production, so I will air my only real beef up front: the volume of the very accomplished and energetic band overpowers the singers at times, obscuring lyrics and plot development. With a show that has such excellent lyrical content, which is perhaps not familiar to many audience members, we must be able to hear the story. Hopefully some detailing on the front of house mix will give a little breathing room to the overall sound, and create a more appropriate balance for the genre as the season progresses.

However this is a very small critique of a cohesive, classy production. Robertson’s direction is en pointe, never descending into the saccharine or caricatured. All the potential of each scene is fully realised, with every actor being utilised completely. Musical director Richard Marrett has extracted wonderful performances from the cast and band, who exude a seemingly indefatigable energy over the course of the performance.

The show cracks along at a breakneck pace, and I imagine that there are a fair amount of cast gym memberships that are currently not required due to the physical rigours required from the dynamic and slick choreography.

The minimal set makes use of a revolve, an LED drape and video imagery judiciously screened to considerable effect, instantly transporting the audience to the different locations and through the various emotions of the story. Costumes (managed by Sarah Douglas) are fun and flirty while never feeling like any malfunctions might occur, an important consideration in a show as energetic as this. MVP must be awarded to the sports bra worn by the character of Brooke Wyndham: safe and secure!

Legally Blonde the Musical is very, very well cast. There are no weak links, and every performer plays with heart and conviction in spades. As my companion remarked during the curtain call, there is a palpable feeling of true affection and genuine support for each other emanating from the stage, and this undoubtedly contributes to what is an unexpectedly moving, and very affirming production.

While I could easily name check the entire cast, there are some stand out performances. Nomi Cohen (Serena), Erin Wells (Margot) and the comedically gifted Monique Clementson (Pilar) are an utter delight as the sorority ‘Greek chorus’ while Lucy Porter delivers yet another stand out performance in the role of Enid Hoopes.

Jane Leonard is exceptional as Vivienne Kensington. In a role that could disappear into the wall paper in the hands of a lesser performer, Leonard makes her sizzle. And her vocal acrobatics in the titular song lift the roof. She is officially on the ‘one to watch’ list.

Kira Josephson (Brooke Wyndham) is a knock out. The musical number ‘Whipped into Shape’ is a sight to behold and Josephson rightly deserves the descriptor of ‘triple threat’ in this role. Damn girl!

‘Bend and Snap’ in the hands of the always effervescent Ali Harper is an audience favourite, and I have tears streaming down my face in the Riverdance spoof that follows. However, ‘There Right There’ completely undoes me. Emiliano Pereyra has charisma up the wazoo and he and Isaac Pawson are the epitome of fabulousness in this number.

The principal characters all deliver fantastic performances, but it’s 21 year old Ellie Neal in the role of Elle Woods that the night belongs to. She delivers an intelligent, nuanced and one hundred percent loveable performance of a girl who follows a man and ends up finding herself. It’s a triumph of a performance, and Christchurch audiences would be justly warned that attending Legally Blonde the Musical may result in hearts being lost to the unavoidable charm of the lovely Miss Neal. Many snaps given. 

This production is just the ticket for the Court’s summer season: fun, heart-warming and just a damn good night out at the theatre. Omigod, omigod you guys – just go see it!


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