bring it on

9 Aug

Book by Jeff Whitty
Music and lyrics by Tom Kitt ,Lin-Manuel Miranda and Amanda Green

Energy and fun abound in this young peoples’ show. Cheer leaders at two very different schools. One is Truman’s, full of WASP style pupils all dressed in pink. The other is the rough and ready multiracial, multi cultural, multi everything Jackson High – mostly dressed in assorted colours.
The British Theatre Academy has taken on the Southwark Playhouse, both the large theatre and the little one for the whole of August to present two shows.
One has already been dealt with here – the terrific drama ‘Goodnight Mr Tom’ .which is on at the Little Theatre . This was the David Wood adaptation of Michelle Magorian’s children’s book which I have since read and enjoyed. This production was stunning with all the roles played by people under 23 and totally convincing.
Bring it On is something quite different. It is a show for the young, performed by the young. At Truman High School, they have a high standard in their cheer leading squad and their Captain is a talented and charismatic girl called Campbell (Robyn McIntyre). She has just been appointed Captain for their entry into the National Championships when she gets the news that she has been transferred to Jackson High , a tough school with low standing. Her friend Bridget, the squad’s mascot – usually dressed as a parrot – joins her. Bridget is not a member of The Squad. She is small and dumpy and basically a comic figure with some really clever comedy work and great singing from Kristine Kruse. ‘It ain’t No Thing’ which she sings with Matthew Brazier as La Cienega.
The play deals with their relationships with boyfriends and in Campbell’s case her growing friendship with Danielle, leader of the Jacksons dance crew, played by the very powerful Chisara Agor
However the plot is slight as it is the dance that runs this show. The differences in the choreography. The cute Cheer leading dancing of the Truman’s – all in pink and silver dresses and the free style costumes and athletic hip hop style of the Jacksons. Ewan Jones not only directs but choreographs and does wonders in the smallish space available at Southwark.
Particular credit to all the cast who are superlative, in their vigour and dynamism, and a special mention to Isabella Poppa who plays Skylar, a really bitchy member of the Truman Squad and gets all the put down lines.
The music and lyrics are by Tom Kitt along with the musical man of the moment Lion-Manuel Miranda composer of the current hit Hamilton and there are some great numbers. ‘Do your own Thing’ and probably the most resonant ‘The Killer Instinct’ sung by Eva the new leader of the Squad..
The bright, busy setting is by Tom Paris and Ben Jacobs provides some atmospheric lighting.
Long live the British Theatre Academy – a magnificent Institution that can provide such exciting talent in these two shows at Southwark.

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