Review Round Up: But I’m a Cheerleader, Turbine Theatre

We round up the reviews for the musical by Bill Augustin and Andrew Abrams, playing at the Turbine Theatre until the 16th April.

(c)Mark Senior

The Guardian: *** “this is a story that deserves attention. Gay conversion practices continue to be legal in the UK. Although the musical is rooted firmly in comedy, it shines a light on the horrors of such unethical treatments.”

WhatsOnStage: **** “One of the marvels of Tania Azevedo’s production is how the boppy teen musical clichés of HeathersLegally Blonde et al are given full rein but then subside into something nastier (cue a troubling “family therapy” scene where we see the youthful defiance of the kids torn down by their prejudiced parents), yet still come out on the other side as sweet, inclusive and uplifting. Nuance and subtlety may get slightly compromised but the sheer good-heartedness and ‘eff you’ energy are hard to resist.”

Evening Standard *** “I feel like I’m kicking a small, cute animal here, as this show is undeniably fun and admirable. It’s the first full production to emerge from the Turbine Theatre’s Musical Theatre Festival: I just don’t think it’s totally ready yet.”

Broadway World: **** “The production touches on adolescence, finding your place in the world and sexual identification. Despite all the frivolity, the irrationality of conversion therapy is placed at the centre. There’s no better way of exposing the absurdity of prejudice than skewering it with both parody and comedy. The production does both with wit, warmth and such conviction that you cannot help but root for a happy ending.”

West End Best Friend: **** “The Turbine Theatre’s latest original offering is a colourful riot of camp. This show, however, isn’t merely empty calories. A note in the programme from Artistic Director Paul Taylor-Mills reminds audience members that conversion therapy remains inexplicably and unforgivably legal in the UK, which makes this quintessentially American high school comedy surprisingly urgent.”

The Stage: **** “Buoyant musical adaptation of a cult movie featuring a host of cracking comedy performances and an important social message.”

Set the Tape: “But I’m A Cheerleader: The Musical is faithful to – as well as respectful of – the source material, while not being afraid to expand upon it, and make some very interesting, intelligent choices when doing so.”

Gay Times: **** “We had an absolute blast with But I’m A Cheerleader: The Musical. Does every punchline land perfectly? Not quite, but the jokes come thick and fast with a decent hit rate. Are some of the songs a bit chaotic? Yes, but the music is mostly excellent, and there’s some seriously impressive vocal talent on display amongst the cast. Do these minor quibbles matter? Not at all.”

All That Dazzles: ***** “Full of heart and hilarity, this life-affirming show has an overarching important message and is everything theatre should be.”

But I’m a Cheerleader continues to play at the Turbine Theatre until the 16th April.

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