AU ABROAD

Arts Review: Bring It On The Musical - NIDA Theatre, Sydney (Performances to 9th July)

Bring It On was (and still is) one of my favourite movies to watch at a girly sleepover. Cheerleading, high school romance and lots of attitude! It’s all fun and very re-watchable. Now Bring It On comes to the musical stage and it brings with it those same sorts of epic routines, but this time live. On stage. With no mats. Prepare to cheer!

The most important thing to note for Bring It On The Musical is that it is NOT the story of the film. If you go in expecting Toros and Clovers you’ll be disappointed, so go in expecting all the high school attitude and epic cheer routines and you’ll be in for a fun night!

The musical follows Campbell (Alex Lewtas), who has just been elected as cheer captain for Truman High. She’s popular, blonde and has a handsome, yet dense, boyfriend. Okay, so it’s a little similar to the movie. Here the tales diverge though. Campbell is redistributed from her preppy school to the downtown Jackson High, which GASP has no cheerleading team. The school does have a dance crew though, lead by the feisty Danielle (Kat Hoyos). Campbell bumbles along making lots of mistakes, which she eventually recognizes and grows as a person as a result. There are lots of positive messages in this one- the importance of friendship, the diversity and celebration of body image and firm self-belief.

A couple of standouts for me were Jessica Van Wyk in the role of Skylar, who managed to be very enjoyably bitchy with fun lines like, “Sometimes being pretty, it’s enough,” as well as show off some strong Cabaret-style vocals; Jamie Leigh Hadwen as Eva with her hilarious antics and energetic performance; and Sophy Carol as Bridget, the crowd favourite, with her wonderful expressions and empathetic pull. But the whole cast was a just a delight to watch together in action, with the youthful energy and love of performing really shining through.

Occasionally, there are moments when the energetic fun is interrupted by an emotional ballad-style piece, which I felt disrupted the flow a little too often, but overall the pacing kept up with the squads.

The most impressive part of this musical though, is the cheerleading moves. They really don’t hold back, despite the frighteningly hard looking wooden floorboards and evident lack of any fall-breaking mats. Girls are tossed and spun high into the air, landing with precision on shoulders with a huge performance smile. It’s all at once terrifying and insanely impressive.

Bring It On The Musical is a high-energy, crowd-motivating, trick-filled musical that is really enjoyably easy to watch. Just like our favourite cheerleading movie, this is a musical to grab your girlfriends together for fun night out. Perhaps to be followed by that ol’ sleepover with Torrance and popcorn.

---

Bring It On The Musical will continue to cheer cheer at the NIDA Theatre in Sydney until the 9th July. For more information visit www.bringitonthemusical.com.au

The reviewer attended the Opening Night performance on the 27th June.