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Sydney review - cheers for cheerleaders in Bring it On

Bring It On

Directed by Rod Herbert and Musical Direction by Anne-Maree McDonald

Presented by Supply Evolution

NIDA Theatre

215 ANZAC Parade, Kensington

Season 27 June – 9 July

Supply Evolution’s Bring It On presents all the archetypal features of a high school cheerleading movie and packs it onto the stage, with live song and dance thrown into the mix. It’s brimming with energetic stunts, lifts and amusing one-liners. If you’re the cheerleading-musical type, you will love this stage version of Bring It On, and even if it’s not usually your thing, I think you could still have a great time.

Alex Lewtas took the lead in the show as the protagonist, Campbell, a once-cheerleading captain, dethroned when she ia moved to a different high school that tragically doesn’t have a cheer squad.

Although Campbell makes some careless decisions, which occasionally renders her an unlikeable protagonist, this is because of the plot and not to Lewtas’ performance. Her singing voice is exquisite and she shows versatility in her acting and dance performance.

Overall throughout the cast, the writing only allowed for a superficial level and breadth of acting, however this was largely compensated for by the well-received laugh-out-loud humour throughout the performance. Furthermore, this approach is characteristic of this genre, and perhaps complex performances are not the target audience’s desire in seeing this type of show.

The success in comic work should be notably attributed to Sophy Carol as Bridget. In spite of having to carry the stereotypical role of the nerdy and fat girl, Carol lit up the stage. A refreshing casting decision was in the transgender character ‘La Cienaga’ in the ‘cool kid posse’, played vivaciously by Timothy Langon, to great audience appreciation. Some clever one-liners brought a new depth to the standard teenage angst about not fitting in, so commonly seen in this genre. The audience embraced La Cienaga with open arms, hankering for the evasion from the narrow demographic so often presented in mainstream media.

Many of the performers in this show come from a dance background, with the cheer routines being particularly impressive throughout the show. With the cheer choreographed by Melissa Mckenzie and general dance choreography by Tracey Rasmussen, audible gasps in awe resounded in the audience, as everyone was dazzled by the lifts and jumps.

This spectacle was especially appreciated considering the removal of a safety net provided in similar onscreen performances with camera tricks and stunt doubles. Awareness of the immense skill required in these feats was heightened by the suggestion of a wobble in a pyramid formation. This seemed only to augment audience wonder at the endlessly energetic performances before them.

If you’re after some light-hearted musical entertainment, Bring It On has got the goods. It doesn’t make for rigorous watching requiring deep thought; it simply takes you along for the ride with high kicks and pom poms to add to the cheer.

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