Scotch College has continued its proud performing arts record in musical theatre with this lively, entertaining and skilful production. Linda Williams’ tight, thoughtful direction established the mood from the start, well supported by Briony Nickels’ musical direction and some wonderful choreography by Nina Richards.
The premise of this show is to debunk several stereotypes. Elle, the main character, is considered too empty headed and ‘blonde’ to succeed academically. Nonetheless she gets into Harvard Law School – granted, to be with the boy she loves – and once there still faces the same prejudices. Yet, she shows ’em! All this is wrapped into a musical which is light, bright and definitely slight.
The opening night cast, one of two alternating in the main roles, did a fine job with this material. Onor Nottle, as Elle, skilfully convinced us that although apparently ditzy, she had what it takes to be strong, independent and successful. In her early songs she was a little overpowered by the band, but that improved thereafter and generally the sound system was a real strength of the production.
Opposite her, Harry Fiedler was a most convincing Emmett. He impressed as a steady, decent and credible character and was far more likeable that Warner, Elle’s original love interest, who was well played by Matthew Daniell.
In a strong cast, others to shine were Georgina Taeger who played Paulette the hairdresser with subtlety, Hugh Whittle as the law lecturer Callahan, whose song Blood in the Water was one of the cleverest in the show, and Georgia Raftopoulos as Vivienne who at first was Elle’s rival but later joined forces with her.
The production looked and sounded confident and convincing. The ensemble was energetic and well-coordinated, with some first-rate dancing, notably by Savannah Stevenson as Brooke and Issy Darwent as Serena, while the set was bright and contemporary, with suitably modern projections. The raised seating, erected for these performances, was a boon.