The musical adaptation of the 2003 classic School of Rock is currently touring the UK, and I was lucky enough to catch the rocking treat.
Heading into the show, I tried to keep expectations low. School of Rock was the film of my childhood. Every sick day off from school, sleepover, or rainy afternoon – this was the film I’d always ask for. To say I’m nostalgic about it would be an understatement. Musical adaptations (or vice versa, Cats for instance…) don’t get the best rep, particularly with it being an Andrew Lloyd Webber production.
I’m so glad I was pleasantly surprised. I left the auditorium ready to ‘Stick it to the Man’ all over again, having tapped my feet, face beaming the whole way through.
The musical follows the film to a T. The same characters, setting, songs and even the most memorable lines (‘You’re tacky and I hate you’). However, this time School of Rock is live, and I have to say, it adds to the charm. Yes there are probably a few too many musical numbers (tell me an ALW production that doesn’t) and no one compares to Jack Black. But our Dewey Finn (Jake Sharpe) was the next best thing. He brought buckets of charisma and you could tell he had a real love for the show.
Better than the film?
It’s really hard to say. The film is the original and it’s firmly wedged in so many hearts. But the kids from the musical are so incredibly talented, that they might just tip it their way. ALW tells us that the kids play their own instruments – but that does them an injustice. I spent the entire time thinking ‘God, I’m never going to be as cool as those kids!’
They’re all amazing actors, with an energy and sass I can only dream of. But once they pick up an instrument, I promise you’ll become transfixed. If these kids don’t become stars of their own, something has gone wrong in the world. Brimming with guitar solos, drumming masterclasses and keyboard wizardry, you’ll be spellbound. Ranging from ten to thirteen – the kids of School of Rock are definitely going places.
Songs from the film such as ‘School of Rock’ and ‘The Legend of the Rent’ of course make a very welcome appearance. Hearing them live felt like a childhood dream come true. But ‘Stick it to the Man’, an ALW addition, is the one that will live in your head for a long time.
Is it perfect? No. But it’s a lot closer than I thought it was going to be. If you’re a fan of the film, it’s an absolute must-see. If you’re not? You should see it anyway. It’s very feel-good, full of mind-blowing talent, and is a couple of hours you definitely won’t regret.
Catch it on tour and buy your tickets here.