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BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL @ His Majesty’s Theatre gets 8/10


Bring It On: The Musical
 @ His Majesty’s Theatre
Friday, August 9, 2019

8/10

Bring It On: The Musical revived a noughties classic and transformed it into a vibrant, feel-good musical reflective of the modern high school experience. Coming to Perth on a two week limited run at His Majesty’s Theatre, the independent production preserves the comedy and raw emotiveness of its namesake movie whilst providing an astonishing show of powerful vocals combined with sheer athleticism and eye-catching choreography.

Inspired by the film Bring It On (2000) starring Kirsten Dunst, the musical follows the trials and tribulations of Campbell (Kirby Burgess), a well-meaning but naïve upper-middle-class high school senior. Due to school redistricting, Campbell is forcibly transferred from her beloved, (mostly) white Truman High School, where she is named head cheerleader, to the lower socio-economic, inner-city Jaxon High. Struggling to adjust to her new surroundings, Campbell attempts to join the school dance crew, led by Danielle (Jasmine Smith) and learns lessons about race, privilege and class in the process.

The show deconstructs the multiple layers associated with American high school stereotyping and popularity hierarchies and, in doing so, intentionally creates an atmosphere of diversity and inclusion in the Jaxon High scenes. One aspect of the performance that stood out was the awesome diversity; Bring It On: The Musical hosts the first transgender character in La Cienga (Marty Alix) and dancers of all shapes and colours, including a Hijab-clad dancer dressed in modest cheerleading wear. Characterisation of each of the members was unique and extremely well developed; standout performers within the Jaxon High crew included Jasmine Smith as Danielle, Dayton Tavares as Twig and Samantha Bruzzese as Nautica.


Whilst these performers stood out, not a weak link was to be found in the entire cast. Although the plotline lacked flow at times and was overly reliant on clichés (almost more so than the movie!), the chemistry between the cast was powerful, especially in the more emotional scenes, and each performer seemed to have a thorough understanding of their character. One such example was the characterisation of Bridget (Baylie Carson), the unpopular and socially awkward geek type who goes from Truman High mascot and cheerleading reject to a coveted member of the Jaxon dance crew. Carson showcased her talent for physical comedy and brought an incredible presence to the show.

The dramatic effect of the performance was only strengthened by the incredible set design and dynamic lighting. Rotating panels and lockers recreated stereotypical high school scenes, and the evocative use of colour and spotlight effects within the lighting emphasises the raw angst and emotionality of adolescence. Overall, Bring It On: The Musical brought life to an otherwise stale and dated classic and did not disappoint.

CALLISTA GOH

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