Review: Hit musical School of Rock is as good as the film

Jake

The cast of School of Rock the musical - Credit: School of Rock Tour

Given that I’m shamelessly willing to admit School of Rock is one of my favourite-ever films, there was a slight niggling feeling in the back of my mind that any stage adaptation wouldn’t do it justice.

But I’m pleased to say I couldn’t have been more wrong.

At Norwich’s Theatre Royal on Wednesday night the audience was treated to a spectacular display of talent as Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s hit Broadway musical had people enraptured from the minute the performance began. 

Jake Sharpe as Dewey Finn (and Mr Schneebly impersonator) was incredible, and his stamina unrivalled. As Jack Black’s spirit animal he acted up to the wannabe-rockstar freeloader persona perfectly - with the dialogue at times even funnier than the film.

Jake Sharpe as Dewey Finn in School of Rock The Musical

Jake Sharpe as Dewey Finn in School of Rock The Musical - Credit: School of Rock Tour

However there was still much verbatim quote-borrowing from the original 2003 movie production, and die-hard fans will be pleased to hear the “you’re tacky and I hate you” line did indeed make the cut.

Rebecca Lock as Rosalie Mullins was triumphant, and her vocals genuinely chilling in her solo hit “Where Did The Rock Go?”. Her depiction of the Horace Green Prep School principal was suitably strict, before the second half of the show saw her let-loose far more than in the film.

But I wasn’t complaining. In fact I surprised myself by revelling in the hints of a nascent romance blossoming between the on-stage Dewy and Rosalie.

Most Read

But of course, the real stars of the show were the children.

Rosalie Mullins in School of Rock the Musical

Rosalie Mullins in School of Rock the Musical - Credit: School of Rock The Musical Tour

Before the curtain rose at the start of the performance, an omnipotent announcement from Lloyd-Webber echoed across the theatre: “People often ask whether the children play their own instruments. The answer is an emphatic yes.”

Not only were the children hilarious, but they sang, danced, made music and acted superbly throughout, with Tia Isaac as Tomika eliciting a huge round of applause during her last-minute audition to become the band’s lead singer, and stealing the limelight with her solo during the cast’s finale rendition of “Teacher’s Pet”.

I was honestly amazed by their professionalism and energy. After the final song, it was wonderful to see the cast rewarded with a much-deserved standing ovation.

This is not a musical to be missed. 

School of Rock the musical

Dewey Finn and Ned Schneebly in School of Rock The Musical - Credit: School of Rock The Musical Tour

School of Rock runs until March 19 at Norwich Theatre Royal. Book tickets here.