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27 September 2021

REVIEW|School of Rock UK Tour

Photography by Paul Coltas

School of Rock (UK Tour)

Pre-COVID when I spent many a weekend in London enjoying as much theatre as my little heart could take, there were a few shows that I would often watch on the Sunday before I got back on a train back to the West Midlands. Each of these shows had a place in my heart and one of them in particular was School of Rock.
Based on the film of the same name, staring Jack Black, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and a book by Julian Fellowes, it takes everything cult about the movie and brings it in real life to the stage.

The show follows Dewey Finn, a out of luck want to be rock star, who decides to earn a few extra dollars impersonating a teacher at a very prestigious prep school, where he teaches straight A wonder kids the power of rock but also learns a few lessons himself along the way. As previously mentioned, the musical follows similar form to the film but with a little something something and even a little romance, and who doesn't like that?

Photography by Paul Coltas

Photography by Paul Coltas

Lloyd Webber's 14 additional songs to the well known movies favourites such as Teacher's Pet are a slight change from the classic Webber vibe but are all together some of my favourite works of his, two of my favourites being Where did the Rock Go? and If Only You Would Listen.

With original direction by Laurence Connor and under the observation of Chris Key, the associate director on the tour, this production has all the same feel as the London production that I fell in love with, which closed in February 2020. The whole creative team of this show needs it's own applause for bringing back this show back in its new guise, giving audiences all over the UK the chance to see this show.

The cast lead by Jake Sharp as Dewey Finn was amazing. Jake epitomised Dewey perfectly from start to finish, it is like the role was made for him and it was a joy to watch him perform but also watch him be as amazed by all the great and talented children in the cast, singing and rocking out to the beat of their own instruments (which they are in fact playing...incredible). Rebecca Lock as Rosalie Mullins was another inspired casting choice as she rocked the stage every time she took to it, she was 1000% the Queen of my Night. Matthew Roland plays the real Ned Schneebly, which he plays with real finesse and some amazing costumes with his finale ensemble being one hundred per cent my favourite, even if it was an initial shock to see Matthew dressed in such a way after seeing him previous shows.  Nadia Violet Johnson played Patty, Ned's at times annoying girlfriend brilliantly, making her almost likeable which is impressive as she is portrayed as one of the villains of the piece.

Ryan Bearpark, James Bisp, Chris Breistein, Samuel Haughton, Richard Morse, Annell Odartey, Joanna O'Hare, Amy Oxley, Helena Pipe and Craig Watson completes the adult cast playing the parents of the children alongside the staff of Horace Green and Rock Gods and Goddess to boot and I personally loved seeing their mum and dad dances off stage towards the end of the show.

Concluding the cast we had the the stars of the show, the children's cast. Unfortunately at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre where I saw the show there was no cast board that I could see so I cannot be one hundred per cent sure of the complete child cast I had. With a little detective work I have managed to work out a few names and with time hopefully I will be able to give them all their dues. Angel Lucero shone as Tomika, her vocals in If Only Would Listen (Reprise) were incredible and Harry Churchill's guitar skills as Zack were amazing. Every time I visit the show and watch the amazing musical talent on the stage from the children floors me.

Whether you are a fan of the film or whether you are just looking for a great time at the theatre, everyone needs to watch this tour. Wolverhampton was only the tour's second venue and the show is going all over the UK and Ireland over the next year so please check out the School of Rock website to find where you can see it near you. Please do yourself a favour and go and see this amazing show!

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