Haslemere Players are rewarded for daring to take a risk

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When the Haslemere Players’ Legally Blonde was scheduled for March 2020, little did anyone dream Covid would delay it for 19 months.

With some of the cast no longer available, they had to re-cast and get back into the swing of the intricate dance routines.

But this fantastic show was well worth waiting for.

Opening night was on the 20th anniversary of the release of the film which spawned the show.

With music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Neil Benjamin, it is a humdinger of a musical centred on Elle Woods, a fashionable American sorority queen dumped by her boyfriend.

Although she has it all, she wants to be a wife but feels one thing stopped him proposing – she is too blonde. Elle gets into Harvard, determined to win him back, befriends a feisty trio of cheerleaders and defies expectations while staying true to herself.

In her directorial debut Fiona McGregor set herself an enormous challenge, but she pulled it off.

With Justin Luke wielding the baton, they produced a stonking show which sizzled from beginning to end.

Choreographers Debra Allen, Robyn Davies, Emma Lumb and Kim Seymour produced some outstanding dancing. For one number, eight girls had to skip throughout the song, which was quite amazing. The singing was terrific and it was lovely to see a new wave of young people on stage. The sets were imaginative and the costumes superb.

Becca McGregor was in her first principal part for Haslemere Players and did an amazing job as Elle.

Love interest Emmett was in the capable hands of Arran Treacher-Evans, and her sorority sisters were charmingly played by Hannah Lucas, Emma Lumb and Verity Foster.

Chloe Johnson-Jones brought great humour to the role of Paulette, Alan Thornhill was a suitably creepy Professor Callahan, and Lizzie Hales, Alex Boughton and Tim Spindler all shone as supporting characters.

It was good to see Hazel Hawkswell in her first leading role, and she and others with cameo roles did not put a foot wrong.

It was a particularly skilled line-up of actors, singers and dancers.

During the almost sell-out week the age of the audience was noticeably much younger than usual – let us hope they come back for future productions.

The Players took a risk in going right outside their comfort zone and attempting a difficult musical which was certainly not a run-of-the-mill choice. They should though be very proud that the result was an exceptionally professional show in every sense of the word.

Fay Foster

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