School of Rock - The Musical

Theatre, Musicals New London Theatre , Covent Garden Until Sunday January 14 2018
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Jake Slack (Zack) & David Fynn (Dewey Finn)

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Florence Andrews (Rosalie Mullins)

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David Fynn (Dewey Finn)

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© Tristram Kenton

David Fynn (Dewey Finn)

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© Tristram Kenton
 (© Tristram Kenton)
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Andrew Lloyd Webber's unexpected Broadway hit moshes over to the West End

It is the ultimate musical about male privilege, a show about an under-qualified, over-entitled white guy who shambles his way to public adoration by blithely inflicting bankrupt baby boomer values upon a bunch of impressionable people who don’t know any better. 

‘School of Rock – The Musical’ is also quite good fun.

I dunno if it’s the state of the world today, the fact I haven’t seen the Jack Black-starring film, the fact that so much has changed – musically and politically – since the film came out in 2003, or simply the knowledge that it’s written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Julian Fellowes, a couple of Tory lords in their late ’60s, but I felt a bit politically uneasy about ‘School of Rock’, which follows schlubby charlatan Dewey (David Fynn) as he masquerades as a teacher and proves a hit by tearing up his sensitive young charges’ syllabus and making them play old person music. 

Its big, catchy number is called ‘Stick It to the Man’. Yet there’s something both problematic and ironic about the fact that in Laurence Connor’s production The Man is represented by two women – Florence Andrews’s hard-working, professional  headmistress Rosalie and Preeya Kalidas’s Patty, a hard-working, professional wife-to-Dewey’s best friend Ned – while in the blue corner we have... Dewey, a self-absorbed bum who everything turns out brilliantly for. Despite apparently being somewhere in his thirties – so presumably born around 1980 – Dewey exclusively loves classic rock bands, and mocks his tween charges for their love of Taylor Swift (a woman) and Kanye West (a black man).

Am I overreacting? I mean, sure: ‘School of Rock’ is basically harmless. But there is, at the very least, something a bit Luddite about a show so smugly adrift from the present, so determined to posit the caterwauling of a bunch of ’70s bloke rockers as the sum total of musical achievement.

But here’s the thing: the kids are really cute. And really talented. You would have to be an absolute monster to not be charmed and impressed by the little pipsqueaks. There are three child casts, which I’m happy to assume are equally precocious as they pluckily howl and strum their way through Lloyd Webber’s undeniably toe-tappin’ song list.

‘School of Rock’ is a baby boomer fantasy, with an underlying earnestness to its suggestion that if we only listened to successful white men of a certain vintage our happiness would be assured. It is, in a certain light, the musical version of Donald Trump. But with much more likeable children.

By: Andrzej Lukowski

Posted:

Venue name: New London Theatre
Contact:
Address: 166
Drury Lane
London
WC2B 5PQ
Transport: Tube: Covent Gdn
Price: Mon-Thu £15-£69.50, Premium Seats £95, Fri-Sun £15-£75, Premium Seats £95-£129.50
Event website: http://www.schoolofrockthemusical.co.uk
To improve this listing email: feedback@timeout.com
    • Mon-Thu £15-£69.50, Premium Seats £95, Fri-Sun £15-£75, Premium Seats £95-£129.50
    • Mon-Thu £15-£69.50, Premium Seats £95, Fri-Sun £15-£75, Premium Seats £95-£129.50
    • Mon-Thu £15-£69.50, Premium Seats £95, Fri-Sun £15-£75, Premium Seats £95-£129.50
    • Mon-Thu £15-£69.50, Premium Seats £95, Fri-Sun £15-£75, Premium Seats £95-£129.50
    • Mon-Thu £15-£69.50, Premium Seats £95, Fri-Sun £15-£75, Premium Seats £95-£129.50
    • Mon-Thu £15-£69.50, Premium Seats £95, Fri-Sun £15-£75, Premium Seats £95-£129.50
    • Mon-Thu £15-£69.50, Premium Seats £95, Fri-Sun £15-£75, Premium Seats £95-£129.50
    • Mon-Thu £15-£69.50, Premium Seats £95, Fri-Sun £15-£75, Premium Seats £95-£129.50
    • Mon-Thu £15-£69.50, Premium Seats £95, Fri-Sun £15-£75, Premium Seats £95-£129.50
    • Mon-Thu £15-£69.50, Premium Seats £95, Fri-Sun £15-£75, Premium Seats £95-£129.50
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Average User Rating

4.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:12
  • 4 star:12
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|28
1 person listening
tastemaker

The School of Rock is such a fantastic show. Of course, it's not a highly intellectual drama with some twists, It's just a bright, joyful, a bit cheesy (who cares 😁) and funny show. The songs are great and the kids are playing brilliantly and they are really playing live! The energy is electrifying and the enthusiasm of the cast is superb. And they are allowing to take pictures at the end! Five stars all the way!

tastemaker

I loved every minute of this musical, it may be a little bit cheesy and past it's time but that's exactly how I want my musicals to be.  Starting off with a cool looking rock band that loves themselves a little singing "I'm too hot for you". The musical opens up Dewey Finn being a washed up nobody using his friend for a free place to stay. I've not seen the film myself, but my friend that has says it follows the story closely just with more singing.                    


I found the songs catchy and entertaining, the performances were strong and David Finn played a convincing Dewey.  The children performed well and was great to see them play live to the audience.  One of the mostly commonly asked questions was answered before it started, yes the kids really do play their instruments live.


The cast got the audience joining in and for the first time we were told we could actually take pictures at the end.  A thoroughly enjoyable evening and I would go and see it again.                                                  

Tastemaker

School of Rock's plot has more holes than a polo mint factory. I almost had to talk myself into suspending my disbelief. However, when I did, this show has funny lines, great tongue-in-cheek rock songs, and some very talented children. 

The opening song "I'm too hot for you" is a clever parody and "Stick it to the man" and "School of Rock" are crowd pleasing, audience participation, stadium rock pastiches. There are other good songs too, David Finn is likeable as Dewey and there is a big enjoyable finale, where the crowd goes wild.

Put away your critical eye, embrace your inner teenager, and you will love it too!


I was super excited to be going to the School of Rock Musical as I absolutely love the movie! I had really high expectations and after the first 15 minutes I was a little worried they wouldn't be met, however once the kids became involved it turned out to be spectacular! I thought David was fantastic as Dewey - he was so much like Jack Black! The kids are so talented! I couldn't believe they were playing live. I would definitely recommend going to see this musical!

tastemaker

My brother used to watch school of rock religiously after school when we were younger so I bought him tickets to watch the musical for a birthday present. We both loved it. The kids were so talented and so were the actors who played Dewey Finn and Ms Mullins. The kids actually play their own instruments which was a treat to watch. It's also quite humorous in places so I'd definitely recommend going to watch it if you loved the movie. It did the movie justice!


Yes in a way it's super cheesy but it's also ridiculously entertaining with some really catchy numbers. The casting was excellent, there were some witty one liners & the kids were incredible. I left this show with a big smile on my face. Leave any cynicism at the door & just enjoy.. Ps never seen the film

Tastemaker

School of Rock really surprised me. I expected an entertaining evening, but the talent of the cast, infectiously upbeat soundtrack and fantastic view all made for one of the best live performances we've seen in a while. 


I have to say I am not the hugest of musical theatre fans but I absolutely loved School of Rock. I took my nine year old son and in the interval he said to me it was the greatest night of his life. I think that says it all!

Tastemaker

Overall, The School of Rock was incredibly entertaining and enjoyable. Much is owed to the child cast, whose live singing and music playing are equal amounts adorable and awesome. The big numbers are flashy and fun enough, and in the end you also want the band to win the battle of the bands competition. The music is extremely catchy, upbeat, and you can completely understand why Andrew Lloyd Webber is a musical theatre genius. 


The only negative I have about the show, is pretty much what I disliked about the movie. Dewey (Jack Black in the film), starts off down-and-out of luck, shirking responsibility, mooching off his friends. He’s the basic man-child character. His story arc should contain something about redemption, about taking responsibility of the kids he’s teaching to “stick it to the man”, of selflessly doing something to prove that he’s grown up just a tiny bit and isn't still constantly thinking of his own selfish desires. The arc doesn’t happen and the redemption doesn’t really come.. 

Sure, by the end - somehow - everything is ok! and happy! But Dewey hasn’t done anything to deserve it. He won’t even come to the battle of the bands show - the kids have to encourage and inspire him to get out of bed.


My gripe lies more with the story. Everything about the musical - the songs, the charming kids, the dance numbers - is enough to distract from a subpar story arc, and more than enough to entertain. 


I was seriously excited to see this - I'm a big fan of the film - but cautious as usual as I am of any forced musical. The kids were fantastic and absolutely exceeded my expectations. The adult actors I did at some points find slightly cringe, but I think this is the nature of taking an amazing film, with some music, and turning into a musical. I'm not sure the tickets are worth the going rate but it was definitely a fun night!

tastemaker

Loving the original film when it came out and I am so excited to see how School of rock to be adapted into the musical form on the stage.

We were so lucky that our seats were in the second row which super close to the stage! So close that we could see the actors sweats during their performance. 


I love that the musical retains most of the music material from the film and some of the classic quotes, too. Every scene was pleasantly arranged, the singing and the dancing is just right.


All the children's performance are so impressive. They sing and dance their heart out. Fantastic experience and a very satisfied music night out.

Tastemaker

I struggled to close my mouth throughout this whole performance as it was wide open in awe of these absolutely amazing kids!! Their amazing talent will blow you away. Any fans of the actual movie will not be disappointed as the main actor really does Jack Black justice. I have to say I enjoyed every single minute of this from start to finish and is definitely one of my favourite performances I have seen all year. Fell good factor= 10/10

Tastemaker

Electric musical, full of energy and happiness. I would describe it as absolutely phenomenal - the kids skills blew me away! 

The only less positive note is for the main actor that I found a bit annoying but to be fair it might be part of the character all the rest was amazing!

tastemaker

For anyone familiar with the movie, there will be no surprises in terms of plot and it even goes as far as borrowing many of the lines/jokes. However that is not a bad thing as it's a good movie but I don't think enjoyment of this hinges on any previous knowledge of the story. It's a seriously fun evening and that's mainly due to the kids. They are sickeningly goofy, fun and talented and are the runaway stars of the show. David Fynn has come a long way from playing Wolfie in the Inbetweeners and is a pretty reasonable substitute for Jack Black. The excellent headmistress aside, there is very little development of the other adult characters and the Ned/Patty combo are not all that believable. However that's essentially irrelevant, the kids deserve all the credit for making this such an enjoyable show and are absolutely worth seeing

Tastemaker

School of Rock has a paper thin plot that really shouldn't work. Throw in Andrew Lloyd Webber as composer, and this is a genuine headscratcher. Yet, this musical really worms its way to viewers' hearts with its not-so-secret weapon - the kids. David Fynn as protagonist Dewey Finn (an uncanny name resemblance) has big shoes to fill as the Jack Black stand in, but does an absolute bang up job of crafting a character who means well and remains completely likeable. He's got great chemistry with the kids, who are charming and absolute powerhouses of talent all on their own. When they pick up the instruments and play, there's a genuine sense of care and concern for them, and completely marveling at their skills. Even the live band stood and up and watched and cheered for the kids as they performed! Credit also has to be given to Florence Andrews as the headmistress, who expertly handled Mozart's Queen of The Night and her own rousing solo. Despite having the most stock of characters who hardly get much development, this is a musical that's great for all ages, and really drives home the message of paying more attention to your kids. Impressive work and very very exhilarating that will convince you that yes, children ARE deserving of taking centrestage in musicals.  

Tastemaker

Stick it to the man! 


Wow, what a full on, fun musical. From start to finish there were rock songs galore and every where you looked on stage something was going on. Massive kudos to the main lead for his energetic performance (albeit some sketchy singing) and boy did those kids impress with their constant dance moves, songs and instrument playing (beware of some dodgy American accents). The best singer by far was the principle with some amazing vocals. If you've seen the film don't panic as you'll be treated to fab live renditions of the bands 2 songs.


It fits perfectly in the New London Theatre, with its wide stage, leading to good views all round, as well as spacious seating and comfy chairs. With the huge stage came a brilliant set which moved, spun and flashed. Definitely a show worth seeing for any age or gender - perfect level of rock, cheese and laughs. Loved it!

Tastemaker

Want something to cheer you up? Then School of Rock is the antidote to the longer nights and colder weather. You probably know the story, a guy celled Dewey gets kicked out of his old band, answers the phone meant for his landlord substitute teacher and pretends to be him to get some much-needed cash to pay the rent. He soon realises the kids he teaches having musical talent and transforms them into a rock band so he can enter the battle of the bands and 'stick it to the man'. Lord Lloyd-Webber's tunes are catchy and the kids are super cute and talented. They make a point in saying that they play their own instruments live on stage and for kids between 8 and 14 they do a very good job. The house band even prove they're not supporting by leaning over the balcony over the final numbers to cheer the kids on and show they're not playing! You'll have a good time watching this musical and it flies by as well. Everyone's having a good time and towards the end, you feel like you're more in a gig than watching a show. I'm sure all the kids on rotation due to child labour laws are all as good as each other - the little girl playing the bass bigger then her was a real highlight on the night I went. The lead character also does a pretty good Jack Black impression!

Tastemaker

Wow what a talented bunch of young and older actors on this stage! I haven't seen the movie so I can not compare the movie and the musical like the other reviews, but the School of Rock musical was definitely a great way to spend a wednesday evening watching the talents of the future! The crowd was very enthusiastic as you would expect at a rock concert so that made a big difference to the ambience. I can see how the adorable kids who played all the instruments themselves get the spotlight; but the lead actor David Fynn did not stop moving and singing the whole night, what an energy! This show definitely left me feeling younger and more energetic!

tastemaker

An unforgettable night of amazing music and incredible talent! Being a massive fan of the film already, I wasn’t too sure what to expect. I was definitely not anticipating the show to live up to the films standards. I was so wrong. The enthusiasm and high energy demonstrated by the amazingly talented cast really brought the show to life! The children were all extremely talented and stole the show in my opinion, especially with their ‘Stick it to the Man’ performance. The lead role played by David Fynn made an excellent Dewey and did a great job with the high energy dance routines and vocals. I found the humour hilarious from start to finish and even left the show with several of the songs stuck in my head! I was more than happy to give them a standing ovation at the end of the night! A must-watch musical for the whole family to enjoy!

Tastemaker

I never expected the musical to live up the film's high standards, but I have to give props where due. Positives: the kids will melt the coldest of hearts with their brilliant acting and musical talent, full-gusto performances and animated characters each committing to their roles despite a few hiccups, so while their vocals weren't mind-blowing, you can kind of give them a bly. Ms Mullins was also on top form and was a standout performer. Drawbacks: David Fynn's vocals were nowhere near strong enough in a lead role and I struggled to find his character believable at times. Although there were standing ovations (mostly for the kids) I was left feeling underwhelmed. It's a feel-good family musical that's full of good intent, I just think for a musical about music, the vocals have to be outstanding from start to finish.


I had a great time! if you are a fan of the film then this is a good watch. The children are brilliantly talented musicians and make the show! The lead  David Fynn played a great Dewey. before going I was worried that it would be difficult to see through the Jack Black replacement but actually he did his own thing yet kept the cheeky chaps behaviour. I found some of the songs a little less impressive, I would say a bit boring and slow tone for a high energy potential show. 


The main song 'Stick it to the Man' was brilliant as was 'teachers Pet'. If you are a fan of the film then I would say give the show a go as it hits the mark on a lot of what the films brings. 


Let's be honest, it was never going to be as good as the movie, and the Dewey Finn was never going to be played as excellently as Jack Black. That said, he certainly gives it his best. There's enthusiasm and there's a lot of musical talent. I feel like they overdid it a bit with the new songs, it would have been fine with a few less. The acting was consistent despite a couple of minor hiccups but the kids without a doubt stole the show for me! The fact that everything played was live was incredible, and all the kids were brilliant at both acting and playing the instruments. It's definitely a feel good show don't get me wrong, just feel I can't help comparing it to the movie.  

Tastemaker

School of Rock the Musical stays true to the film and provides a high energy and lighthearted performance. Impressively, whenever anyone is playing a musical instrument on stage, they are actually playing it. The kids look like they're having so much fun and David Fynn is so committed to the lead role. The first half is slow to pick up but the second half ends with an epic battle of the bands scene which finishes the show off brilliantly. 

Tastemaker

I CANNOT RAVE ABOUT THIS SHOW ENOUGH! School of Rock is a breath of ass-kicking, totally rocking fresh air in the West End where talent, great songs and humour combine to create an amazing musical. 


The kids are just insane, however be prepared to woefully question what you have done with your life as these pint sized pocket rockets dominate the stage. They are all experts at the instruments they play and carry the show with pure professionalism and electric energy; you can't help but want to jump up and start head- banging with them.


The adult characters are also amazing. We saw the understudy Dewey Finn, however you would not at all feel short-changed. His voice was effortless rock god and his comic timing, his interaction with the kids, and his nods to Jack Black's original character made him a pleasure to watch. Oliver Jackson as gawky, secret rocker Ned Schneebly was perfect in the role. The songs from the films are included, but sit alongside a score of new, catchy hits from the master of musicals, Andrew Lloyd Webber, who ensures you leave the theatre humming the tunes. 


The set is great also, slick and reminiscent of the much loved film. Overall, this musical is just fun. Just pure, reckless fun and I will be seeing it as many times I can during its run at the New London. So if you are massive fan of the film, or love musical theatre, or just like laughing, this show is a definite must-see!

tastemaker

The kids steal the show in this production - the talent is amazing and I still can’t quite believe what phenomenal musicians they are.  The adult cast is also very strong, with particular shout outs for the actors playing Dewey and Ms Mullins (her voice is incredible!).  There are some poignant moments, but this show is just pure unadulterated fun.  A great new show and a must see!


I must declare that I have not yet seen the show , so this is a review of an industry preview hosted by Andrew Lloyd Webber and his creative team They talked about the genesis of the show and introduced us to the wildly talented kids that will perform at The New London Theatre. 


It was excellent.

I am excited to see the show. Having been a fan of ALW's earlier works such as Joseph and Jesus Christ Superstar , I see this as a return to form.


Lets hope the show lives up to the preview.

If the kids on stage were anything to go by, I think it just might.


Saw the show on Broadway and was blown away by how talented the kids are - they could all be stars in their own right! It's an awesome show for everyone!