Review: Bring It On really is something to ‘cheer’ about

It was kind of fitting that Amber Davies belted out What I Was Born To Do - the opening number of Bring It On The Musical at Peterborough New Theatre last night.

Wednesday, 1st December 2021, 10:44 am
Bring It On The Musical at Peterborough New Theatre.
Photo: Helen Maybanks.
Bring It On The Musical at Peterborough New Theatre. Photo: Helen Maybanks.

For despite the Love Island winner and reality star labelling, this pocket-sized performer is a real powerhouse who over two hours showcased her incredible vocal and dancing talents, developed from a young age.

She barely left the stage, treating the audience to an all-round powerful performance as clean-cut cheerleader squad captain Campbell, at well-to-do Truman High School, who finds herself like a fish out of water when she ends up at rough, tough Jackson High.

But she wasn’t alone. Vanessa Fisher as Danielle - the hip hop dance crew leader to Amber’s cheerlead captain - was sensational; the moves, the voice, she had a real presence on stage and led my favourite song of the night It’s All Happening.

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Bring It On The Musical at Peterborough New Theatre. Photo: Helen Maybanks.

It is a truly multi-talented cast with all the main support shining too: Truman’s bitchy Skylar (Chloe Pole), Kylar (Biancha Szynal) and evil Eva (Alicia Belgarde); Georgia Bradshaw (Nautica) and Jal Joshua, bringing it for the Trans community as La Cienaga at Jackson.

There’s some terrific characterisation all round and in particular I did enjoy Chelsea Hall’s Bridget.

There was an air of anticipation when Peterborough’s Louis Smith (Cameron) entered the fray, flirting with centre stage, dancing with the crew and showing off some trademark backflips, cartwheels and handstands before getting his moment in the spotlight, And he didn’t disappoint.

The score is very strong (Tom Kitt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Amanda Green), though the songs aren’t instantly etched on the brain and perhaps need to be heard a few times to be really appreciated.

Bring It On The Musical at Peterborough New Theatre. Photo: Helen Maybanks.

Lighting and the set is fabulous, while the storyline dabbles with real life issues - relationships, trust, lies, jealousy, deceit, revenge and friendship; and again credit to the full cast for making this believable so there is no drop-off between the dance scenes - which elevate the show to another level.

From the high kicks and flips of the cheerleading squad to the urban street style of the hip hop crew - and the fusion of everything in between - the choreography was at times breath-taking and attention grabbing in equal measure.

Needless to say the finale will blow you away.

And it was wonderful to see people on their feet applauding a live performance once more.

Bring It On The Musical is at New Theatre until Saturday before transferring to the West End and a major UK tour in the New Year. Tickets at www.newtheatre-peterborough.com