Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock the Musical follows the same characters and plot as the 2003 film; much of the dialogue and songs are left unchanged, which serves the stage show well. Jake Sharp leads as Dewey Finn with energy and charm. Alongside him is Lock as Rosalie Mullins, principle of Horace Green and secret rock lover. Mullin’s performance is by far the strongest of the night, she doesn’t miss a beat, giving a compelling musical theatre performance.
As part of the ‘band’ for this performance we saw Emerson Sutton as Freddy. Sutton is a delight to watch, his performance full of confidence, his musical skills spellbinding. Layla Pages takes on the role of Summer Hathaway and really controls the stage at times with an assured and noteworthy performance; an actor to watch for in the future. All the young actors are incredibly talented, really making the evening special. When the school band start playing their instruments live it really is an electric atmosphere and rocking out with them is a memorable experience. The final moments of the show and the Battle Of The Bands performance create for a feel-good musical at its best. Kaylenn Aires Fonseca also gives a notable performance as Billy. He makes the most of his stage time, racking up multiple laughs with his facial expressions, mannerisms and delivery.
Feel-good kids and rocking out aside, the majority of the adult performances felt underwhelming and, at times, panto-esque, American accents are often inconsistent, perhaps a choice to anglicise text and help younger audiences to engage? My opinion is that the producers and creative team want the show to appeal to families and children, which is certainly a good market to aim for, but the changes made have the show lacking and missing that breathtaking edge that was present for the West End production.
The production could also do with tightening up of audio and mixing. As mentioned it is such a memorable moment when we hear the kids rocking out live, it would have been a better experience if the sublime sounds they were producing were clearer so they really hit us in the face.
The UK tour of School of Rock lives up to its reputation of a ‘feel good musical’, it’s the kids and their instruments that really make this show and should be the reason you choose to see it.
Music by: Andrew Lloyd Webber
Book by: Julian Fellowes
Lyrics by: Glenn Slater
Directed by: Laurence Conor