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Taking place for an 18th time, The Alexandra Birmingham’s Stage Experience project sees the best of the West Midlands’ young theatrical talent (ages nine to 24) spending two weeks of their summer holiday working alongside a professional creative team to put on a full-scale production. 
This year’s show, a musical version of the year-2000 film Bring It On - is about the competitive world of high school cheerleading in America. It follows the story of Campbell Davis, cheer captain at the privileged Truman High School, who is forced to switch school and attend the neighbouring inner-city Jackson High School for her senior year. 
Finding herself in a brand-new social, educational and financial dynamic, away from her friends and boyfriend, she is distraught to discover that there’s no existing cheerleading squad. Determined to prove herself, she joins forces with headstrong Danielle and her dance crew. Together, they work towards their ambition of winning the Nationals, the ultimate cheerleading competition... 
As you would imagine, there’s lots of teenage angst at play here. There’s the obligatory high school bitchiness, the popular and not so popular cliques, foul play, romance and sassy attitude aplenty! 
You can also throw into the mix the very different discipline of acrobatic cheerleading choreography. The stunts, jumps and tumbles which the young musical theatre performers had to learn - as well as the skill of simultaneously dancing and singing - offer an insight into the amount of sheer hard work and energy that presenting this wonderfully vibrant performance must have required. And it was clear, too, that the cast were absolutely loving what they were doing - putting on an electrifying show for their hugely appreciative audience.
The goal of the 80 young and talented individuals who participated in The Alexandra’s Stage Experience initiative was to create a show which was in every way as professional, polished and involving as any other production presented by the venue. The cast, company and crew should feel immensely proud of achieving this - and in such a short period of time, too. Routines were well executed and staged - somehow, they managed to make cheerleading look easy, which obviously it’s not! Individual and ensemble performances were powerful. Singing voices and harmonies were strong and melodious. The dancing was fabulous, the stunts impressive, the demanding moves thrilling to watch. There were some very catchy songs as well, including closing number I Got You, which brought many members of the audience to their feet as they cheered loudly in appreciation of these gifted young stars of the future.

Four stars

Reviewed by Sue Hull at The Alexandra, Birmingham, where it plays until Saturday 19 August.