Bring It On By Quay Players
Bring it On is the musical based on the 2000 film of the same name. The music is by none other than Lin-Manual Miranda and Tom Kitt so as a huge fan of both the film and Miranda I went along with high hopes.
The show focuses on Campbell, the captain of the cheer leading squad at Truman High. She lets on one girl Eva into the squad but before the year starts Campbell gets redistricted to Jackson High, who do’t even have a cheer squad.
The success of Bring It On relies upon the strength of the numerous cheer routines throughout the show. Quay Players had clearly worked hard on this aspect and there were moments when some of the cast were flying through the air and tumbling across the stage where I was very impressed. There were however other moments where the dance was weaker simply as they took the approach of letting nearly the whole cast perform some of the routines despite a huge range in abilities. This meant that either at times the routines were simplified to suit the weaker dancers or at other times the weaker dancers struggled to keep up. Unfortunately at moments like these your attention is drawn to the weaker dancers, which was a shame as it did distract from the overall impact.
Quay Players were lucky to have a strong selection of female leads. Emma Bowker played Campbell and she captured the all American cheerleader very well. She came across as natural and was convincing as a cheerleader, especially as she back-flipped across the stage. A standout performance was delivered by Emily Law who played Bridget, the girl desperate to get into the squad whilst at Truman High but overlooked for not being the right look. Law not only had a cracking voice which she got to show off during ‘It Ain’t No Thing,’ but also had great comedy timing and a persona that really made the audience warm to her.
The rest of the Truman High Girls, Skylar, Kylar and Eva played by Jenny Galloway, Cat Palethorpe and Gina Lax kept up the high octane energy and all of them performed their solo numbers brilliantly. The male principles struggled with the dance side of things especially and I struggled to believe that they were part of the squad.
Diversity was also a bit of an issue in the show for me. Jackson High is supposed to have predominately black students but the cast was full of white actors and actresses taking on these roles which sat uncomfortably. Putting this issue to one side Gabriella McCoy played Dannielle, Queen Bee at Jackson High. She did so with sass and confidence….as well as an ability to dance in heels.
I would have liked some more attention to detail with the costumes. There is a comment in the script about how the Truman High uniforms were nicer than the Jackson ones, however the Jackson squad didn’t have a uniform, just a colour theme and the Truman High uniforms needed to look more polished, with a cheer top rather than a t-shirt.
Attention was also needed to the sound, frequently the band overpowered the cast and many microphone pick-ups were also frequently late which was a shame as it meant you missed many of the funny lines or harmonies.
Bring It On is a touching a fun show which Quay Players really attacked and worked hard to deliver with some great performances, in particular from the female leads.
To find out more about Quay Players visit their website.