School of Rock the Musical is a powerhouse of a show, packed with fun, energy and rebellious spirit throughout.
With face melting guitar solos, high energy antics and a larger than life performance by leading actor, Jake Sharp, this musical left me with a real buzz, and a feel good energy long after it had finished – a feeling that I wanted to jump up and down, swing my ponytail, and ‘stick it to the man’, just like the kids in the show.
It follows the character of Dewey Finn – a disheveled musician, who is cast out by his dive-bar band mates and in desperate need of cash.
However, circumstances lead to him posing as a substitute music teacher, where he exposes his students to the rock gods he idolises, transforming them into a mind-blowing rock band by the end of the show.
The musical is based on the successful 2003 film, with the character of Dewey played by eccentric and beloved comedian Jack Black.
At first, I must admit that it was hard to get used to the idea of another actor playing the iconic role, which was of course nailed by the awesome and hilarious actor.
However, I quickly got past this as Jake Sharp took the role by the horns and really made it his own, whilst still maintaining the incredible energy, eccentricity and goofy mannerisms which made the original character such a success.
There were dramatic knee slides, high kicks and high octane vocals a plenty as he plunged headfirst into the role – fearlessly jumping off tables and showcasing his incredible vocals and comic timing.
In fact, some scenes required such an incredibly physical performance, that you couldn’t help but applaud and gasp in astonishment by the time he had done.
Other notable performances came in the form of Rebecca Lock, as the school’s principle Rosalie Mullins, who dazzles with her sophisticated sass and incredible operatic range.
However, you can’t talk about the School of Rock Musical of course, without gushing about the incredible performances of the kids, who bring the show to life and make it what it is.
Before the show begins, the voice of Andrew Lloyd Webber reminds people that all the instruments are played live on stage, which is absolutely mind blowing considering the ages of the children and the quality of the musicianship.
The character is Zach is played by 13-year-old William Laborde, who plays complicated guitar solos like it’s almost second nature to him.
And the character of ‘Katie’ played by Ava Masters, is incredibly watchable as she pouts and plays the bass like a pro, with such incredible precision.
All of the children shine in their various roles, and draw you in with their infectious energy, and endearing personalities, particularly the precocious character of ‘Summer’, who was played excellently by Florence Moluluo.
School of rock is a lot of fun, but there are also poignant moments when the back stories of some of the children are played out. Even though the children are well provided for and even a first class education at the fictional Horace Green prep school, many don’t feel seen/heard by their high flying parents.
However, the real payoff is seeing them break free and embrace their freewheeling spirit under the guidance of Dewey, who encourages them to cut loose and ‘rock out’.
“Rock and roll isn’t about being perfect”, he tells them. However this musical pretty much is. With all the ingredients of a classic musical which will keep on giving, entertaining and inspiring families for decades to come.
School of Rock the Musical is showing at Leicester Curve until June 4.
By Louise Steel