School of Rock The Musical: Gillian Lynne Theatre, London
Reviewed 13th October 2019
Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s reinvention of the iconic, hit movie School of Rock follows Dewey Finn, failed rock star come supply teacher. Working at a prestigious prep school he transforms the class into a mind-blowing rock band with the mission of entering the Battle of the Bands without the parents and the school’s headmistress finding out. Featuring a talented cast of young performers who release their inner rock gods and an upbeat rock’n’roll score by Andrew Lloyd Webber this show is a must for families.
The magnificent kids are the real highlight of this show. Energetic, sassy and confident, the young cast are extremely talented and their performances are well beyond their years. The fact that they play the instruments live is exceptional. Surely these talented young performers will go on to star in many musicals?! All of the young cast are brilliant but Bea Ward stands out as shy Tomika. Even when Tomika is in the background she draws the eye and during solo ‘Amazing Grace’ the whole audience are blown away. Carma Quaye is another performer who draws the eye. The level of attitude and sass she displays is fantastic. Daniel Chang is excellent on the keyboard as Lawrence and equally his acting and onstage presence is superb. Rae Clay certainly knows how to keep a beat on the drums and Delilah Bennett-Cardy perfects the ‘know-it-all’ child of which no teacher wants to have in their class.
School of Rock is not just about the children know. Noel Sullivan is excellent as Dewey Finn. Vocally he is able to perform the rock numbers effortlessly but it is his characterisation and interaction with the children onstage that makes his performance stand out. He is instantly likeable and many audience members will be able to relate in some way to his over the top character. Mark Anderson is hilarious as Dewey’s long suffering friend Ned and Laura Tebbutt excels as the uptight headmistress Rosalie Mullins.
Showing a different edge to some of his more class musicals, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rocky score is catchy and fun. Audience members are sure to leave the theatre humming ‘Stick It To The Man’ and ‘In The End of Time’ is a sure-fire hit. The set, designed by Anna Louizos, works well to fit the very large stage and the use of a revolve keeps the pace moving at all times. Lighting by Natasha Katz also adds to the show, particularly during the audition and concert scenes where the audience feels like they are actually attending a live rock concert.
This musical is sure to be a hit with families, although there should be a warning that there are some swear words spoken through the show and at 2-hours and 35 minutes it may not be appropriate for the very young. What a brilliant way to introduce children to the joy of live music. No doubt many children will decide to take up playing an instrument due to these extremely talented individuals. For a fantastic nights entertainment, light hearted fun, an energetic score and an extremely talented cast then heading back to school at School of Rock is a must.
School of Rock is currently booking until April at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, London. For information and tickets click here.
Photo Credit: Alistair Muir (previous cast)