School of Rock – Bord Gáis Energy Theatre – Review
21 June – 02 July 2022
Produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber
The original film of ‘School of Rock’ was directed by Richard Linklater and released in 2003. It starred Jack Black as the slacker, rock star wanna-be Dewey Finn. He’s a member of the rock group No Vacancy but is abruptly kicked out of the band for his on-stage antics. He lives with his best friend Ned Schneebly and Ned’s domineering girlfriend, Patty Di Marco. Dewey is behind on his rent and is told that if he doesn’t pay up, he’ll have to leave. That’s when he receives a phone call from Horace Green prep school on the apartment’s landline offering Ned a job. He decides to impersonate Ned at the school to get a much-needed paycheck. Horace Green is a school aimed at the upper echelons of society, catering to the children of the elite. Dewey finds himself in a classroom of over-achieving, highly driven children. He thinks he has little in common with the kids and certainly nothing to teach them, that is until he hears their skills in music class. He can educate the class on one thing, and that’s how to Rock! He decides to turn his class of well-bred youngsters into a rock band, which goes by the name of the ‘School of Rock’.
This is a musical based on the much-loved film. It takes the same premise but adds additional songs and a few minor twists to the story. It has also been updated to the modern age, with mentions of mobile phones and pop stars such as Taylor Swift. The musical has 14 new songs by musical legend Andrew Lloyd Webber and a book written by Julian Fellowes of Downton Abbey fame.
The one thing that the musical really misses is the original soundtrack. The film features songs by AC/DC, Black Sabbath, The Clash and many more legendary rock bands. This musical, however, uses the newly penned songs by Webber instead of these classics. There are some interesting new works, including the very catchy ‘Stick it to the Man’ and ‘In The End Of Time’ but they lack the familiarity and gravitas of the originals. Don’t go to the theatre expecting to hear renditions of the classic rock anthems. One familiar song does manage to make it to the stage production, with a rendition of Edge of Seventeen proving pivotal to the plot.
“you’re not hardcore
(no you’re not hardcore),
Unless you live hardcore
(unless you live hardcore)” – In The End Of Time
This is quite a different animal from its predecessor. The removal of the rock anthems along with the clear aim of creating a family-friendly production has produced a tamed version of the original. What it does deliver is a quirky and enjoyable production that will no doubt pack them in. The highlight of the production is the skills of the young cast, who play all their own instruments. It’s very sweet to see these young tykes strut their stuff with knee slides and rock star poses. The performance of main man Jake Sharp holds the full production together and he’s impressive as the eternal slacker Dewey. If you’re looking for a light and fun production to bring the kids to, this should go down a treat.