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Stage review: 'Legally Brunette' starts slow but finishes funny

Published: Thursday, Oct. 6 2011 5:44 p.m. MDT

LEGALLY BRUNETTE: NOT ALL DUMBS ARE BLONDE; Desert Star Playhouse, 4861 S. State St., Murray; written by Ben E. Millet; directed by Scott Holman; now through Nov. 12; tickets at 801-226-2600 or www.DesertStar.biz; running time, 2 hours 15 minutes with one intermission and olios.

MURRAY — The first half of "Legally Brunette: Not All Dumbs Are Blonde" is slow.

It isn't until after the intermission, when Mathew Mullaney comes onto the scene as three different characters (particularly as Napoleon Dynamite), that it kicks into gear.

Mullaney is dead-on as Dynamite and hilarious as Sonny Slacker and a surfer friend of A.J. Sampson, an NFL football player accused of killing his wife and her boyfriend.

Maybe it's because the material is dated and the audience isn't up to speed on what went on as the O.J. Simpson "trial of the century" played out on the nation's televisions.

Maybe it was opening-night jitters and things just weren't gelling, but the first few acts didn't engage the audience.

Corinne Adair played the perky Elle Woods just fine, and Rick Miller as A.J. Sampson is appropriately cocky and unapologetic as he tries to defend himself against the murder charges.

Matt Kohler is appropriately convincing as the slick, unscrupulous lawyer for the defense, Melvin Farkas. Joe Hunk, played by Bryan Dayley, is a bright spot in the cast.

The set is helpful, particularly the police car with tongues of flame and no windshield, as well as the bathroom background screen, which the actors use to their advantage.

"The bathroom's worthless!" says Clunk as she tries to sit on a painted toilet.

The songs, mostly borrowed from old musicals and LDS Primary books (the "Popcorn Popping" song is pretty funny), are light and generally blissfully short.

There are bits here and there that work, and some corny jokes bring a smile or a chuckle. But the laugh-out-loud stuff one has come to expect from Desert Star is strangely lacking until the second act.

Then the show picks up and takes one for a pleasant ride to the finish line.

Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with 30 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.

Email: haddoc@desnews.com

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