Misc.

ADCG presents “Legally Blonde”

11074319_10153209782937866_4551556499759237639_nI will admit that I have never seen the movie Legally Blonde. Shame on me – I know.

I will also admit that I usually prefer the musicals to the movies or the books from which they were adapted. I guess I am just a musical kind of girl.  What I like is the energy that comes from a group of citizens coming together to produce, perform and attend a community musical – and, well, there’s just something magical that happens.

Community theater doesn’t usually get the attention, and therefore the funding, that the big name performers receive and what usually happens is famous and fabulous performers are hired to jet in for a concert to appease the palette of the well to-do and community theater is left to fend for itself. Maybe that is what makes it so great — because local artist have to work extra hard to get the attention. And for that reason, I think we should all make an extra effort to support the local Arts and go see Legally Blonde.

Legally Blonde, directed by Fiona Goss and produced by Aaron Blatt, opened last Thursday night at the Folklore Theater, was an absolute blast and the performers sang and danced their heart out. The Folklore Theater is a traditional old theater that has a very nostalgic feel similar to a high school auditorium so I was already feeling a little cornball sentimental before the show began.

The show which started out with a little audio difficulty, quickly picked up the rhythm once the issue was resolved and the perky, sweet, sorority president Elle played by Alana Barraj, and her UCLA girls of Delta Nu: Pilar, Margot and Serena played by Shera Lea Saunders, Aoife Keane, and Melody Jane Pino took the stage to the opening number “Omigod You Guys.” I loved the mix of costumes and lighting which artfully decorated the otherwise bare stage. My attention was definitely on the performance and not distracted by unnecessary props as the Delta Nu’s and the other female performers gave it their all earning their role as cheerleaders and sorority sisters on the stage.

What girl doesn’t have a Warner and Emmett in their past life? Warner played by Matt Dudley is the guy every girl wants to marry and sweet natured Emmett played by Adam Gobble is slowly discovered as the guy every girl should marry. We were introduced to Elle’s dilemma in the opening act: how does Elle win back Warner who dumped her? As the storyline progresses from heartache to Elle’s desperate plan of action, her character develops from a shallow fashion diva to a lovable law student who is winning over everyone — including the hearts of the audience because Alana Barraj certainly begins to own the show. Another dark horse in the performance is Charlie Acworth who plays Professor Callahan and appears to either be a natural or a seasoned actor in the theater.

For me, and I believe others in the audience, one of my favorite characters (aside from Elle, of course) is Elle’s good friend the lovably, fallible Paulette the Irish hairdresser played by Helen Killeen. There is no exaggeration when I say, Helen Killeen killed it! We all love the down and out character who just wants to be loved and Paulette was that character. The silly good friend who can’t win for losing.

The next performance that wowed me was Patrice Mcgillcuddy who played fitness queen Brooke. How in the world Patrice and her team managed to skip rope, sing, and not miss a step or a breath is beyond me. I am totally impressed with this performance and still in awe of Patrice’s ability to skip and sing at the same time. Elle’s team of interns which includes Warner, Emmitt, Vivienne played by Jade Oswald and Enid played by Cathryn Downing are a comical troupe who continued to entertain throughout the show with a slap stick performance which include cheeky references to homosexuality, infidelity and murder throughout Brooke’s trial for killing her husband. Note to parents interested in attending with their children, I did not feel the references were inappropriate but then sometimes I have an inappropriate sense of humor so who am I to judge? Honestly, though, I believe the references will either be over the heads of younger children or harmlessly common for older children….and also, I forgot, there’s also a brief mention of three boobs.

After the captivating scene of Brooke’s trial, her comical legal team and the discovery of her gay lover, the next most entertaining performance was by David O’Sullivan Glynn who played Kyle the UPS guy. This quirky little role really entertained the audience as Kyle pranced across the stage in his tight brown UPS shorts winning the ever-deserving heart of Paulette. The Irish love story was a super cute side-story as Kyle strolled in and out of the second act while Elle and the girls teach Paulette how to master the magic of Legally Blonde’s bend and snap.

The conclusion of the show is for you to see and not for me to disclose, but I will tell you this….the show was entertaining from beginning to end. Alana Barraj, chairperson of the Abu Dhabi Choral Group, was the driving force for Legally Blonde in more ways than one. She literally nailed Elle. Alana made it all look so easy. I was thinking the entire show I would love to be a cheerleader on the stage! All of the performers put it out there for the audience and my entertainment definitely matched their effort. Legally Blonde by the Abu Dhabi Choral Group is a performance anyone will enjoy. It is perfect for couples, girlfriends, mother and daughters — as I said, anyone! The audience was filled with a mix of people old to young, Emirati to expat. Tell all of your friends to please support the Abu Dhabi Choral Group and their efforts to bring community theater to Abu Dhabi. Once you’ve seen it please drop me a comment and let me know what you think. I would love to know!

The Abu Dhabi Choral Group is a non-profit music choir founded in 1977 and is the oldest community choir in Abu Dhabi. They are open to all residents of Abu Dhabi who can carry a tune. ADCG has produced one fully staged musical per year and for the last three years has also performed a musical review in November. Each production has a staff of over 80 individuals contributing to the performances. The ADCG upcoming concerts include the annual “Just Voices Concert” June 5th and “Jazz to Jive Festival” June 6th. Please consult their website here for further information.

Abu Dhabi Choral Group presents Legally Blonde April 30th-May 11th. Show timings and venue for next week are as follows:

Breakwater Theater by Marina (an indoor venue). Abu Dhabi. Thursday 07 May @7:30, Friday 08 May @ 2:00/ 7:30, Saturday 09 May @ 7:30, Monday 11 May @7:30.

Ticket price: 110AED

Want to see Legally Blonde?!? Of course you do! Click right here for tickets online through Platinum List.

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