by Janet I. Martineau
A word of warning if you venture forth to see Pit and Balcony Community Theatre's production of the musical "Legally Blonde," running through Oct. 16. There are three scene stealers – make that show stealers – who so overshadow everything else that you go home chuckling and chortling about them and tend to dismiss all else in the show.
That's not not really a good thing in a production, given that a cast is supposed to perform as one. But in this case it is what it is. And yes the three roles lend themselves to that kind of reaction, but the three performers involved go above and beyond.
Based on the movie of the same name, "Blonde" tells the story of a dismissed and dissed UCLA sorority girl whose boyfriend dumps her to go off to Harvard Law School. Frustrated and angry, she applies to the prestigious university too and ends up being accepted by the school if not all of her classmates who see her as a "omigod you guys" ditz. Among the comedy, and the show is hilarious, is an underlying message of to thine own self be true as she ends up triumphant.
The scene stealers? -- Cara Baker as Paulette, a wacky, supportive, Boston-accented hairdresser who loves Ireland and would love to marry an Irishman. Baker just simply lights up the stage with her sense of comedic timing, enunciation, singing and body English. She IS the lovable Paulette totally.
-- Spencer Beyerlein, in his first big role outside his school in Reese, as a swaggering UPS deliveryman. His role is small and we're not even sure he spoke many words, but whenever he stalks on the stage to deliver packages to Paulette it is intense giggles. Oh yes, we remember his words now, delivered with every insinuation in them and a sense of comedic flair. Notice there is only one picture of him in this role. That is because we were so entranced by him we forgot we had a camera. Beyerlein also has a really small role as Paulette's grubby, greasy, grimy boyfriend and again delivers the goods.
-- And the third scene stealer will have WC Fields spinning. It's a dog. Orville, a posturing pug making its stage debut as the blonde's pup Bruiser. Cool, calm and collected, that canine. At final dress rehearsal he got tangled up in his leash and kept his cool. No problem rolling him on and off on set pieces or plopping him on a chair to stay there. Want me to follow you on the leash, will do. Pose in the limelight, absolutely.
Which is not to say the rest of the cast flounders. Far from it. Chelsea McCulloch is dynamic as Elle the blonde, with the best singing voice in the show and a strong stage presence.
Claudia Marsh is a stitch is a law school student a bit on the mannish side...check out her T-shirt. Kevin Profitt is creepy good as the cocky law school professor who loves to see "Blood in the Water."
And Lauren Gray as a physical fitness maven on trial for murder does the impossible in jump roping throughout her "Whipped" singing number but remaining audible.
A huge shout out also to the choreography by Natalie Schwartz, a sophomore at Delta College. It is the production's fourth scene stealer. The dance number movements tjust rock and the cast rocks them. "Bend and Snap" and "Gay or European?" are just SO politically incorrect. But so hilarious.
All that said there are some rather serious problems with the show, directed by Todd Thomas. Given the score of this musical is atrociously difficult, but a couple of the leads don't even come close and are weak in acting too. Diction, people, diction. Yes you are microphoned but if you don't enunciate your words clearly in speaking and singing too much is lost. It wasn't a show killer but it was noticeable. The set is underwhelming. The costume a little shabby. And on the last dress rehearsal, the orchestra struggled.
But did we enjoy the show and laugh a lot? You betcha.