Guild Musical Theatre Group’s production of Bring It On tells the story of Campbell, a seventeen year old cheerleader who is moved to a tough new school, Jackson High, where as an outsider, she tries to form a cheer squad with the school’s dance crew, led by Danielle. It is a story of diversity, self-love and hard work and it is a pleasure to see GMTG present such a positive message which is so well placed in the current climate of our world.
The lead role of Campbell is played by Annabel Parsons and she seems to do so effortlessly. It is a demanding role but she hits it with honesty, a palpable energy and not least an exceptional voice, creating a very engaging experience for the audience. However, the joy of this show is that every single person is able to stand out in their characters. Kianna Griffith-Tapper as Danielle is certainly no exception as her nuanced portrayal of the role explores the strength projected for those who rely on her and the vulnerability felt when alone. The duet of We’re Not Done between Parsons and Griffith-Tapper is certainly a powerful moment.
Another highlight of the show is It Ain’t No Thing performed by Sophia Tosin-Talabi as Nautica, Phillip Muya as La Cienega and Katharine Chatterton as Bridget. This empowering number about celebrating our differences perfectly encapsulates the feeling this show gave me. With fantastic chemistry and comic timing from Tosin-Talabi and Muya and a fabulous vocal performance from Chatterton, this is a showstopper which promises to leave you feeling ecstatic.
An obvious challenge to staging a musical about cheerleading is the need to perform cheer routines, so the creative team must be commended for how this was dealt with. The routines were easily recognisable as cheer and they even performed lifts and tricks, doing so with a consistently fabulous energy and a high level of skill. It was also lovely to see individual abilities being celebrated, with dancers having moments to showcase impressive splits, jumps and flips. A standout dance performance came from Edward Cowlard as Cameron who read as a natural mover, showcased particularly in his brief dance solo in Act One. If anything, I would like to have seen more from him.
Occasionally there were issues with the sound levels meaning singers were difficult to hear and this was slightly detrimental to the show as I couldn’t understand the occasional lyric. However, this did not seem to deter the performers and they continued with an unwavering commitment and energy, delivering an overall joyous and uplifting piece of theatre which I strongly recommend you see.