School of Rock The Musical (UK Tour): Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
19th April 2022
A family favourite during its time in the West End, Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s reinvention of the iconic, hit movie School of Rock The Musical is now touring the country. The plot 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.
Jake Sharp is absolutely fantastic as the lead character Dewey Finn. His comic timing and inner Rock God is perfect for the role. The interaction between himself and the children is realistic and fun. Not only that, Sharp’s vocals are strong and completely fit the character. Rebecca Lock’s comedic approach to playing school principal Rosalie Mullins is hilarious. Her vocal range is exceptional and, despite being a hard and stern character, by the end of the show wins the whole audience over with her moving song ‘Where Did The Rock Go?’.
School of Rock wouldn’t be such a hit without an incredibly talented child cast. This touring production is no different. The children are exceptional. Not only do they play their own instruments, they also act with passion and conviction, and perform on stage as well as, if not better, than many adult performers. They bring life and joy to the show and it is fantastic to see such a diverse group of children being shown on stage, this will surely inspire many children to take up music lessons and to release that in a rock child. The children alternate the roles throughout the tour and every single member of the company seen during this performance was excellent. But special credit must go to Alfie Morwood as Billy, Florence Moluluo as Summer and Jasmine Djazel as Tomika. The talent shown on stage is outstanding and a sign that the future of musical theatre is in safe hands.
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 touring set is just as impressive as during its London run. Designed by Anna Louizos, the set is cleverly constructed with smooth transitions to switch between locations such as the classroom, school corridor, and Dewey’s bedroom. 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. It is clear that there has been no expense spared for the production of this tour. The sets, costumes and lighting are fantastic and it is great to see such high quality musicals now touring regional venues again to further inspire the next generation of musical theatre stars.
School of Rock 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 20 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.
Photo Credit: Paul Coltas