School of Rock at Royal & Derngate

Get ready to rock and stick it to the man as School of Rock is in Northampton for one week only! 

This West End and Broadway hit musical has music written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, book by Julian Fellowes and lyrics by Glenn Slater to bring the classic Jack Black movie to life on stage with lights, music and a whole bunch of laughs. 

The story is based on the 2003 movie of the same name and follows Dewey Finn, a lazy, out-of-work rock singer and guitarist who pretends to be a substitute teacher to earn some money at a prestigious prep school, which soon turns into him forming a rock band of fifth graders after discovering their musical talents in attempt to win the Battle of the Bands contest. 

The show was like a familiar hug; if you know the film, it still gives nostalgic references to the Jack Black film (I pledge allegiance to the band) but without mimicking or trying to match the film’s characteristics. It was also refreshing to see how the musical has modernised with references to iPad’s, Guitar Hero and Taylor Swift. 

The set design was fantastic, especially during the performances at Battle of the Bands which made you feel like you were part of the audience at the contest – seeing School of Rock perform “Teacher’s Pet” was something I never thought would come true and I truly felt like I had stepped into one of my favourite films. 

Jake Sharp played the iconic loveable rock and roll slob, Dewey Finn who pretends to be Ned Schneebly – he was funny, energetic and somehow captured the lovable wannabe rockstar. I couldn’t believe just how much energy he put into every number – he must be shattered after the end of every performance. Great casting!

Rebecca Lock played the highly uptight and traditional, Rosalie Mullins, principal of Horace Green. She was an incredibly talented actress on stage, as you can sense the immense amount of pressure she was under as a character, but was able to still deliver a comedic performance whilst enchanting us with those high notes. I adored her rendition of “Where Did The Rock Go”.  

The adult ensemble made up the parts of the teachers, parents and other crucial characters to the story. Richard Morse played three different parts throughout, but managed to pull off something not many actors can do – diversify! He was a highlight performance for me too. 

Other highlights of the night for me included “Stick it to the man”, “You’re in the band” and I was in awe the whole time over the children’s rendition of “If Only You Would Listen”. The soundtrack on the whole was catchy, memorable and was able to condice the movie’s plot into music that meant we were still able to follow the storyline. 

A round of applause has to go to the children’s cast who all make up the students of Horace Green. Special mentions include Tia Isaac who played Tomika, the most introvert of the students who had a big voice – I loved her performance! Evie Marner, who played goody two shoes Summer had such an eye-catching stage presence that I was glued to her every time she came on stage. She’s got a bright future ahead of her.

Overall, the children’s cast worked in unison and guess what… They all played their own instruments too! One of the best childrens castings I’ve had the pleasure of watching and you can tell they have the best time on stage every night. 

School of Rock is performing at Royal & Derngate until Saturday 11th June – it’s a must see show if you’re looking to stick it to the man, rock out to some of the film’s songs whilst enjoying a whole new soundtrack.


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