Although I had hoped more people would wear pink to the opening night of the musical Legally Blonde, the excitement in Hart House Theatre rivalled that of a sold-out viewing of Barbie at the height of its popularity. From February 15 – 17, the St. Michael’s College Troubadours’ production — directed by Nicolas Cikoja and Emma Kidd — delivered wildly exuberant performances affirming that being true to yourself never goes out of style. 

In Legally Blonde, Elle Woods (Lizzie Song) attempts to win back her ex-boyfriend, Warner (Aiden Oh), by following him to Harvard Law School. With the support of her friends, she discovers her potential as a lawyer along the way. 

This show is campy in the best way possible. With its slightly ludicrous plot and upbeat pop music, Legally Blonde is a very unserious show that lends itself well to the Troubadours’ dramatics. 

One of its strengths derives from its stellar cast. Song’s Elle commands your attention — and not just because she’s wearing fabulous bright pink outfits. She brings out Elle’s buoyancy and lovability, which instantly compels you to root for her character. Her portrayal of a defeated Elle during the song “Legally Blonde” genuinely brought tears to my eyes, as it hurt to watch Elle’s optimism leave her body. 

Joseph Chiu as Emmett Forrest was equally endearing with his adorkable charm. Song and Chiu’s chemistry was undeniable, which made watching Elle and Emmett’s friendship blossom into an earnest romance delightful. Speaking of romances, the relationship between Elle’s hairdresser Paulette (Cass Iacovelli) and gender-bent delivery girl Kyle (Nina Katz) was a crowd-pleaser if the roaring cheers from the audience were anything to go by. 

Of course, the show would not have succeeded without two vital cast members: dogs Harley Parsons and Trixie, who respectively played Bruiser Woods and Rufus. They deserve the highest praise, the best treats, and plenty of belly rubs. Who’s a good doggo? They are, oh yes they are. 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the ensemble numbers, which were the highest points of the show. The cast looked like they had a blast performing them — and we did too! The ensemble created the chaotic fun integral to Elle’s “personal essay” in the song “What You Want,” and impressively managed to maintain a clear singing voice while jump-roping during “Whipped Into Shape.” I’d like to tip my hat to the Greek chorus of Delta Nu sorority girls, who consistently brought their vibrant harmonies and lively choreography to the stage. 

I wish the microphones picked up the cast’s voices better, as I occasionally had difficulty hearing them over the orchestra, and I noticed the solos of ensemble members especially got the short end of the stick. All things considered, though, not being able to make out all the words didn’t impede my enjoyment of the performance. The cast’s energy and enthusiasm made up for it, and I admire how the orchestra was able to fill the theatre with music that had me tapping my feet to the beat. 

The cast’s energy is not the only thing that stood out: the production’s use of its set and props was thoughtfully considered and executed. The moveable pair of doors quickly and seamlessly transported characters to different locations. The law students’ red books that doubled as snapping shark jaws in “Blood in the Water” were a clever detail. The joke with the vibrator in “Chip on My Shoulder” was hilarious; however, as my friend pointed out to me during intermission, the positioning of the moveable door props blocked the view of some audience members, and may have caused those on the right side of the theatre to miss the joke. 

What made Legally Blonde such an enjoyable viewing experience was watching Elle grow as a person and triumph over her struggles and detractors. She learns that she can take on any challenge, all while staying unapologetically true to herself. This production conveys the musical’s celebration of individuality with infectious optimism, reminding audience members that anyone can overcome obstacles and find their way in life with a little bit of pink and a lot of determination. 

Disclaimer: The chair of The Varsity’s Board of Directors, Paul Meyer, was the Music Director for Legally Blonde.