Are you ready to rock? You’d better be as the spectacular School of Rock – The Musical is in Milton Keynes this week so you’d better get to school on time.
Based on the hilarious hit movie, this new musical follows Dewey Finn, a failed, wannabe rock star who decides to earn a few extra bucks by posing as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school. There he turns a class of straight-A students into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band. Dewey’s dream of winning battle of the bands can come true if he can get his class to qualify. While striving for his dream, he impacts the children, teachers and parents more than he ever intended. The show features 14 new songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber and all the original songs from the movie; this high-octane smash delivers guitar riffs that would be at home on any Monsters of Rock stage. The first voice you hear is Andrew Lloyd-Webber saying that ‘Yes – the young actors performing on stage ARE playing their instruments.’
The opening scene is Dewey playing in his rock band. He clearly he wants to up stage the lead singer, who is a satorical version of most 80’s rock legends. Dewey doesn’t really fit the image even though his heart is full of rock. The band recognise this too and decide to throw him out of the band. The lead of Dewey Finn is played by Jake Sharp and he everything you expect and more. Think a mix of Jack Black and John Belushi wearing a teacher vest and corduroy jacket with patched elbows and you are on the right lines. Jake smashes it and I found myself wishing I had a teacher like him when I was at school. He is cool and sharp and the script is current and funny. Miss Mullins is the principal at Horace Green School and is played by Rebecca Lock. What a talent this woman is. She plays the straight laced Mullins with precision and even gives us a bit of Opera. But my favourite scene is her singing Stevie Nicks, Rebecca absolutely rocks it in her posh way. Matthew Rowland plays geeky timid Ned who is under the thumb of his girlfriend Patty. Matthew delivers Ned so that you feel sorry for him but also wish he has a bit more backbone. Anna Louizos is the set and costume designer. The sets were clever and felt an easy transition between scenes. One of the best sets I have seen in all my years of theatre.
But the real stars of the show are the young actors and musicians. Wow! The talent on that stage is phenomenal. Tonight’s cast were awesome. When I say awesome, I am saying it in a rock style – loudly!
Isaac Forward(Freddy), Ivy Balcombe(Katie), David Gluhovsky(Lawrence), Hanley Webb (Zack), Darmani Eboji(James), Ophelia Parsons(Sophie), Alfie Morwood(Billy), Saffia Layla(Summer), Jasmine Djazel(Tomika), Nesim Adnan(Mason), Paris Banyong(Marcy) and Eden Anthony(Shonelle). Tomika played by Jasmine Djazel sings like Alexandra Burke. She is a star in the making. Summer is played by Saffia Layla and she really is a force to be reckoned with. These young actors are the stars of tomorrow so pay attention.
School of Rock - The Musical is the kind of show that makes you want to be in a band. If you can play a musical instrument you will pick it up again after the show; if you don’t you may play air guitar but this show is an inspiration to rock music. So expect amazing guitar riffs, a cool bass and drumming beats you are foot-tapping to in your seat. This show has everything you need to rock out and will guarantee you leave the theatre on a high. You’re in the band - School of Rock is playing at Milton Keynes Theatre until 12 February 2022.