Casting directors should get themselves to Bring It On as soon as possible. There’s so much talent on show in the UK premiere of the musical adaptation of the 2000 film that agencies should be snapping up these young performers pronto.
It’s a great, maybe even an obvious, idea to stage a ‘youth production’ (that’s shorthand for saying the cast are actually youngsters, not 30-year-olds trying to act a decade younger) of a high school story about warring cheerleaders and locker room rivalries, scored in part by a pre-Hamilton Lin-Manuel Miranda (who shares music and lyric duties with Tom Kitt and Amanda Green respectively).
It’s not a great piece. The music is too samey and the plot too wispy, but Jeff Whitty’s script has some sharp observations about inclusivity and the lyrics have a lot of wit. But it gives its cast a chance to shine and to say to say the British Theatre Academy ensemble rise to the occasion is an understatement.
It’d be unfair to single anyone out for praise as they all bring their A-game. They dance and backflip and face-off and back-chat and sing their hearts out, nailing American accents and sending the energy levels through the roof of the Southwark Playhouse and halfway up the neighbouring Shard.
You might not leave the theatre humming any of the tunes but the sheer giddy exuberance of it all leaves you on a high. There are lots of better-crafted shows out there, but I challenge you to find one that’s performed with more gusto.
Bring It On is at Southwark Playhouse until September 1st. For great deals on tickets and shows click here.
Words: Simon Button