School of Rock – Gillian Lynne Theatre

By Ben Ayaydin

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Get ready to don your leather jackets and rock on the West End to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock, based on the hit 2003 film of the same name.

The play’s premise is simple. Dewey Finn is a die hard rock fan who, when kicked out of his band before the legendary Battle of the Bands concert, undertakes a job teaching at a school.

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In regards to the acting, Laura Tebbutt (Rosalie Mullins) and Jake Sharp (Dewey Finn) were great. There was a real chemistry between the characters on stage and I think this heightens the experience because the relationship portrayed on stage also comes across to the audience.

Having said this the stand out performers were the children, whose performances are amazing especially for their age. Unfazed, they sing and dance in front of huge crowds showcasing their amazing skills. If that wasn’t enough, yes they do play their own instruments live.

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The live performance adds to the immersive qualities of the play and creates a 3 dimensional environment that you simply cannot get in a film. You can really feel the songs and their instruments, which adds to the already lively atmosphere. The music is great, as you would expect from a musical based around a rock band, with a wide range of genres from rock to classical. I think there is something for everyone and you can certainly feel the energy around the room, with the audience clapping and tapping along.

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The set and lighting add to the atmosphere and you really feel like you are at a concert, with the cast encouraging audience engagement at the end. Also, the choreography was excellent and really complimented the songs.

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I really enjoyed my time at School of Rock, with the music and performances being stand out. I haven’t seen the film but I certainly want to see it now and I think it will be interesting to compare the different changes each takes in order to compliment the mediums of film and theatre.

If you just want to enjoy yourself, forget about work or school, and bang your head for one night, School of Rock is a must see.

School of Rock is on at the Gillian Lynne Theatre and is directed by Laurence Connor.

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