School Of Rock Review

Royal & Derngate, Northampton – until Saturday 11th June 2022

Reviewed by Amarjeet Singh


It’s honestly hard to believe that the film School of Rock is almost 20 years old, and as I take my seat, I am flooded with waves of nostalgia, but not for long, as my ears are assaulted with a delicious riff of a guitar, and sights of a glistening midriff. The band ‘No Vacancy’ have arrived!

Dewey Finn, played superbly, by the delightful Jake Sharpe, is an amateur rock enthusiast but in reality, comes across as a wastrel musician who has no job prospects and spends his time mooching off his best mate Ned Schneebly. When Dewey is fired from his rock band, ‘No Vacancy’, he is left with no money and in danger of being homeless, so he slyly takes up employment as a schoolteacher in the prestigious Horace Green Private School by impersonating his best friend, Ned.

When faced with a class of children Dewey doesn’t have a clue what to do, but upon discovering that the children are able to play instruments, he decides to teach them everything he knows about rock. The ultimate exam, to win a place in ‘The Battle of The Bands’. With many obstacles to overcome along the way, parents who misunderstand their children, huffy teachers, Dewey’s best friend’s girlfriend, Dewey’s personal hygiene and an uptight principle. It’s not all plain sailing but here in lies the laughs and the pathos as he inadvertently teaches the children empowerment and how to find their inner voices and make themselves be heard.

School of Rock was fabulous. Brilliant sets, wonderful staging, and great energy. The only thing that stopped me from giving School of Rock 5 stars was the music, which is supposed to be an integral part of a rock musical. Some of the songs were forgettable and dreary. Other than that, it was a fantastic show.

School of Rock is a heart-warming comedy. Lots of fun for all ages. Although it’s clear that the main driver behind the success of the film is Jack Black, Jake Sharp did a tremendous job. Supported by Rebecca Lock as Principal Mullins who had the most breath-taking voice, they made a formidable pairing and were supported by and excellent ensemble.

However, the true stars of the show and where the real magic happened was when the children appeared. Superb singers, actors and musicians. Yes, they really did play their own instruments. Issac Forward as Freddy, Daisy Hanna as Katie, Angus McDougall as Lawrence, Harry Churchill as Zack, Dereke Oladele as James, Ruthie Heathcote as Sophie, Wilf Cooper as Billy, Evie Marner as Summer, Tia Isaac as Tomika, Caelan Wallington as Mason, Elodie Salmon as Marcy and Kyla Robinson as Shonelle, shone and brought the production to life.

School of Rock is funny, charming and without spoilers there is an amazing way you’re encouraged to Stick it to The Man! before you leave the show. You can’t get more Rock than that!