School of Rock The Musical – A Quick Capsule Theatre Review

 Full disclosure – this isn’t my first visit to the School Of Rock.  In fact the London show was a bit of a favourite of my family, having seen it twice during its storied and well reviewed London tenure.  Which in a way makes it even HARDER sell to see this as a touring show because the bar was already set very high.

Well fear not – the touring version of School Of Rock is bolder, louder and dare I say it even BETTER than the West End show we saw and had a packed Congress Theatre on their feet by the final, joyous number.

For those of you who DON’T know – School of Rock The Musical  is based upon the successful cult 2003 comedy film directed by Richard Linklater and starring the one and only Jack Black.  It arrives on stage via the creative auspice of the one and only Andrew Lloyd Webber and, like the film, tells the story of rock star wannabe and slacker Dewey Finn who ends up leading a group of straight A students from a prestigious private school on a path that takes them to an upcoming battle of the bands. Cue laughs, great songs and a firm lesson about listening to your children.

But fear not this is not some super serious outing like Cats or Phantom – School of Rock is a joyous, toe tapping celebration of finding your difference and becoming who you are truly meant to be… all told via the medium of Rock And Roll (and some catchy songs that will find you heading to your streaming service of choice to listern to on the way home). Oh and ALL the kids on stage actually play their instruments – a fact Sir Lloyd Webber proudly informs you at the very start!.

The touring cast is headed by Jake Sharp (previous West End Dewey alternate) who, quite frankly, owns the role of Dewey Finn.  Funny, silly, charming and with a great voice to boot, Sharp looks like he’s living his best life on stage and he rolls with ease through the shows catchy numbers.  For me Sharp is probably the best Dewey yet. He’s supported by a talented cast including Rebecca Lock as prim and proper head teacher Miss Mullens and Matthew Rowland as his best friend (and door mat) Ned.  But this show would be nothing without the super talented cast of kids who absolutely rock the house down and whilst it’s hard to single out any member of this talented bunch, special note has to go to Tia Isaac who plays quiet and unassuming student Tomika.  Her rendition of Amazing Grace drew audible gasps from the near sold out Congress Theatre.

School Of Rock is pretty much the most fun you can have at the theatre and ends with one of the best twenty minutes of a show I can remember.  And the audience absolutely loved it, clapping, singing and rocking along. Without a doubt  School of Rock sits in my top musicals (nay theatre productions) of all time.

So if you are looking for a fun night out with the whole family (even if there’s a couple of mild swears along the way… well they ARE rock stars after all) , you genuinely wont get better than the  School of Rock.  In fact I liked this version so much I’ll be back on Saturday to watch it again!

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