Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics: Glenn Slater
Choreographer: JoAnn M Hunter
Book: Julian Fellowes
Based on the iconic early naughties film School of Rock featuring Jack Black, School of Rock The Musical sees Andrew Lloyd Webber’s West End and Broadway hit take to the stage once more.
Following wannabe rock star Dewey Finn as he navigates being thrown out of his band for not being ‘cool or attractive’ enough, School of Rock charts one man’s (though he’s really more like a perpetual child…) attempt to wrestle with making his dreams a reality, through the unlikely medium of becoming a substitute teacher at an illustrious Ivy League prep school.
Impersonating his long-suffering flatmate’s identity to take a job he’s vastly under-qualified for, Finn – in desperate need of cash – exposes his unsuspecting students to the ‘wild’ ways of rock and roll, capitalising on their well-honed, classical musical abilities to transform his well-behaved class into a fully-fledged bunch of rockers.
As they rediscover their childish sense of imagination and fun – led by Finn, with his mildly irritating Peter Pan syndrome – the children break free from the pressures and obligations put on them by the weight of their parents and school’s expectations.
Featuring 14 new songs, as well as the well-known hits from the movie, it’s an enjoyable, light-hearted watch. It certainly goes down with the children in the audience, who find the slapstick (and gross) humour laugh-out-loud funny.
The staging is clever and transportation – changing rapidly from elite school classrooms through to grungy gig venues and dive bars sleekly and smoothly. The orchestra, too, put in a great, enthusiastic performance.
What makes School of Rock different from other musicals is that the real focus is children on stage (who, as we’re told at the start, emphatically do play their own instruments). They’re a truly talented bunch – remarkably slick, hot on the lively dance moves, and confident when showcasing their musical talent.
For them alone, if nothing else, it’s worth a watch.
Runs until 21 May 2022