School of Rock is a musical developed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Glenn Slater and Julian Fellowes and it is based on the 2003 film by the same name starring Jack Black. The show follows the story of newly out of work musician Dewey Finn, who impersonates his friend and flatmate, Ned Schneebly, in order to land a substitute teaching post at a prestigious school, Horace Green, where he forms a band with his class of schoolchildren and enters Battle of the Bands.
The show opens with ‘I’m Too Hot For You’, sung by No Vacancy lead singer, Theo, played by Cameron Sharp (Jesus Christ Superstar, Avenue Q, Rock of Ages). This number sets the tone of the show perfectly and ends with Dewey Finn (the lead guitarist) being thrown out of the band. Sharp is in his element, strutting across the stage with rock god style and magnetism – a truly fabulous performance!
David Fynn (She Stoops to Conquer, Romeo and Juliet, Mojo) plays the lead, Dewey Finn, but at this performance, Dewey was played by Joel Montague (Funny Girl, Urinetown, Rocky Horror Show). Montague gave a confident, energetic, charismatic performance, particularly with ‘When I Climb to the Top of Mount Rock’.
Florence Andrews (Miss Atomic Bomb, Once, Wicked) gave an amazing performance as uptight, Stevie Nicks-loving school principal, Miss Rosalie Mullins, who is under constant pressure from demanding parents paying $50,000 a year for their child to be educated at Horace Green. Andrews’ vocals are out of this world and she excels particularly with ‘Where Did The Rock Go?’.
The children in the cast were all outstandingly talented young musicians and performers. They gave a heart-warming performance of ‘If Only You Would Listen’ which touches on elements of children feeling they’re not being heard by or being ignored by their parents. There are three young actors playing each child role in the musical and so they alternate between performances.
There are numerous standout numbers in the show, including ‘Stick It To The Man’, ‘School of Rock’, and ‘You’re In The Band’, all of which were performed by Dewey and the class of Horace Green during band practice and the Battle of the Bands competition.
Overall, School of Rock is a high-energy, head-banging, electric show, bringing the unlikely combination of classic rock and prestigious, traditional schooling together perfectly. School of Rock opened at the New London Theatre on 24th October 2016 (following success on Broadway) and is currently booking until 12th February 2017.
For more information on the New London Theatre, visit West End Theatre Guide’s page here.