Southwark Playhouse, London – until 1 September 2018
This lively and entertaining production showcases a whole wealth of talent from the British Theatre Academy.
Loosely based on the film starring Kirsten Dunst, Bring It On makes for a lively and bubbly musical about friendship, betrayal and competition.
The story follows the fortunes of cheerleader Campbell after she is named captain of the Truman High School cheerleading squad, wishing and dreaming of leading the team to Nationals. But when she is suddenly redistricted, Campbell is forced to attend Jackson High School where things are a lot of different and Campbell soon discovers that not everything is at it seems.
Directed and choreographed by Ewan Jones, this British Theatre Academy production is vibrant and filled with a positive energy thanks to the sheer enthusiasm and talent of all of the young cast, who fully immerse themselves in their roles to great effect. In particular, Kristine Kruse as Bridget is a delight to watch with her natural comic timing (how she managed to cope wearing that parrot costume in this heat is amazing) and is a real breath of fresh air – particularly when she is accepted into Danielle’s crew, allowing her character to take flight and blossom.
Meanwhile, Robyn McIntyre as Campbell is equally impressive offering a strong and charismatic personality mixed with impressive vocals (listen to her rendition of ‘One Perfect Moment’ for example) and Isabella Pappas as Skylar gives a sharp edge to her character that highlights the viciousness of high school perfectly. But the entire cast all have a strong bond which helps make the story believable.
While musically the show does feel like a real blend of Hairspray, Legally Blonde and Vanities, there is absolutely no denying Lin-Manuel Miranda’s involvement with the music alongside Tom Kitt, making it feel more contemporary and designed to appeal to a younger audience. While there is a great variety of songs that include a classical musical theatre feel to them such as ‘Tryouts’, it is songs such as ‘Do Your Own Thing’ with its hip hop style very familiar in style to the music in Hamilton that will certainly appeal to those who love In the Heights, showing how Miranda’s unique approach to musical theatre can be used to sharp effect in this musical.
But it has to be said that by the time you get to the second act, the story does become slightly more predictable and there are no real surprises in store – but it is still sharp, sassy and entertaining throughout, keeping the audience thoroughly entertained. This is helped by Ewan Jones’s choreography that keeps energy levels high and the bright colourfulness of Tom Paris’s set and costume designs really highlight just how fun this musical is.
Light and fluffy mixed with plenty of attitude, this is a musical well worth catching at the Southwark Playhouse thanks to the confidence and enthusiasm of the cast and the production.
By Emma Clarendon
Bring it On continues to play at the Southwark Playhouse until the 1st September. For more information visit: https://southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/show/bring-it-on/