MTS Presents ‘Bring It On’: From the Perspective of a Sideline Cheerleader.

Orbital’s Joanne Archer reviews Musical Theatre Society’s performance of Bring It On.

Every time I watch MTS perform I laugh, I smile, and deep down I am envious of their superhuman talents. Bring It On was no exception to the rule. Walking through the SU main hall doors, I realised that this show was unconventional, I became aware I was entering from “backstage”; the hall layout having been rotated to allow for a basketball court to be taped down to the SU flooring. With lockers, banners and photo collages, I immediately felt like I was in an American movie. The show itself was certainly not the “glorified High School Musical” that one might have assumed it to be. We follow in the footsteps of Campbell, the relatively down-to-earth and newly elected cheer captain of Truman High School, seeing her progress through a new high school and the challenges set in place by Eva, her neighbour who is determined to become her carbon copy.

Before I even came to university I knew I wanted to join Cheerleading. I have no dancing ability, no flexibility and I am pretty sure I was sold by the promises of a cute outfit and High School Musical dreams. University cheer is nothing like High School Musical at all. I’m not going to go too far into the details of what we do in cheer, but it rarely involves cheering on other sports teams and Bring It On perfectly captures that. Cheer is all about cheering for your own squad and putting out a routine of stunting, tumbling, dance and pyramid work. You have minutes on the mat and, though I have never competed myself, I know from our end of year showcase just how much pressure rests on those few minutes. The cast of Bring It On, most of whom I believe have never done cheer before, were convincing with their jumps, tumbles and stunts. It was also scary just how convincing their ‘cheer faces’ were, a very real part of the sport. Though our preps are usually held at chest level and theirs rested on their knees, you have to appreciate the speed at which this show was put together, the skills of the cast, and the limitations of performing a musical on a hard floor. I feel an MTS and Cheer collaboration on the horizons.  

As I mentioned before, I have no dancing abilities myself and I am probably the most unlikely cheerleader to ever grace the RH Bears Sideline team. Perhaps this was why I felt such a strong connection to the character of Bridget, a somewhat dorky and dysfunctional girl desperate to make the cheer squad. Personally I felt, and this may be favouritism to the Orbital’s Marketing and Social Media head, Emma Halahan stole the show and had me in fits of giggles every time she made an appearance on stage. Be it in the Collosus mascot suit, which is VERY hot to wear I might add, a Pokémon t-shirt or the edgy get up of Jackson High School’s dance crew, Emma was a delight. Having never heard Emma sing, and getting familiar with her quirky character, I was blown away by her long and super sassy note at the end of ‘It Ain’t No Thing’. Of course I must also highlight the incredible performances by Shakira Taylor-Knight, George Lambourne, Ciara Lea, Emma Twomlow, Katie Wilmore and Kaid Miller, to name only a few. The whole cast provided a night of stunning entertainment that you must not miss.

The show continues until Tuesday and tickets can be purchased from the SU website now: www.su.rhul.ac.uk 

Photography credit: Joanne Archer