Review: Bring It On - Southwark Playhouse
Before Theatre Talk heads back to Boston after a great summer across the pond, we were able to catch the British Theatre Academy’s production of Bring It On currently playing at the Southwark Playhouse.
Loosely based on the movie of the same title from 2000, the musical follows two rival high schools on their way to Nationals for competitive cheerleading. Campbell runs the squad at Truman High School but when she suddenly gets redistricted to another school right before her senior year, things take a turn for the worse – at least in her eyes. Ending up at Jackson High, a school who doesn’t even have a “squad”, Campbell quickly comes up with a plan to get her new “crew” into the championships.
Filled with catchy pop tunes written by Tom Kitt, Amanda Green, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, the entire cast did an exceptional job that had the audience bopping along in their seats. Add a book by Jeff Whitty of Avenue Q fame and you have a recipe for a fun night out. Chris Ma and his pit of 6 deserve a round of applause for really filling that space with music.
As I walked in and saw Tom Paris’ colorful set, I was intrigued to see how this large cast would fit all the dancing and cheering into this small space. Ewan Jones‘ directing and choreography is a true feat and breathed new life into this show which I have yet to see in any production of this show prior. It is so refreshing to see a production performed by young actors who are the same age of their characters. While the original Broadway cast was fantastic, there was something more believable about the entire experience. The Southwark Playhouse is such an intimate theatre and you could feel the joyfulness exuding from this youthful bunch.
I was blown away by the shear talent of this cast that Mr. Jones assembled. Robyn McIntyre played head cheerleader Campbell and truly lead the entire show. Her nemesis Eva was deliciously played by Sydnie Hocknell whose rendition of Killer Instinct was utterly great with matching onesies and all. Other cast standouts include Chisara Agor as Danielle and Mary Celeste and Matthew Brazier play besties Nautica and La Cienega. This review would be pointless if we did not mention the brilliance that is Kristine Kruse as Bridget. Kruse made my face brighten every time she was in a scene with both her spot on comedic timing and impressive vocals.
It was a toasty night here in London, and while Southwark does provide water out in the lobby, I would advise bringing a fan with you into the theatre! But the heat is nothing compared to the powerhouse performance this cast is giving. You do not want to miss this production!
⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 Stars
Bring It On plays until September 1st. Book your tickets here: https://bit.ly/2vw5YOU
Reviewed by Kobi Kassal for Theatre Talk Boston