Friday, 22 April 2016

Broadway Review: Andrew Lloyd Webber's School of Rock starring Alex Brightman & Sierra Boggess

School Of Rock
Winter Garden Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 29th March 2016

Andrew Lloyd Webber has a hit on his hands! The 2003 film School Of Rock starring Jack Black was always destined to be turned into a musical, but nobody thought Lloyd Webber would be "the man" to make it happen.

The show centres around failed rock star Dewey Finn who disguises himself as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school; rather than teaching traditional subjects, Dewey teaches his students about rock music and enters them into Battle of the Bands.

For this show to succeed casting was always going to be key, and director Laurence Connor struck gold by casting Alex Brightman who gives a career defining performance as Dewey. Brightman's comedic instincts are just as strong - if not stronger - as Black's, and it's thrilling to see how he's put his own stamp on the character whilst staying true to the film. His vocals are incredible - I don't know how he sings and performs the way he does every night. 

Of course, finding the right kids to star in the show was also vital for the show's success... I don't know how they managed it, but the casting team found the most talented children I have ever seen onstage. The children are mind-blowingly brilliant quadruple threats; they can sing, dance, act AND play instruments. I find it staggering that the kids perform eight shows a week - they are the stars of tomorrow.

Broadway and West End icon Sierra Boggess plays headmistress Rosalie, completely reinventing the role from the film. She has fun with the silliness of the comedy, and Lloyd Webber allows Boggess one or two opportunities to soar into her soprano range.

Some of Lloyd Webber's new songs are enjoyable and slot into the show perfectly, but some scenes in the show are a little clunky; the supporting adult cast have the tendency to over act which becomes very irritating. The scenes and musical numbers shared between the kids and Brightman are without doubt the highlight of the night.

Would School of Rock work in London? Absolutely! School of Rock makes the perfect family show because there truly is something for everyone to enjoy. The sooner School of Rock makes it to London the better.

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

School of Rock plays at the Winder Garden Theatre (50th Street & Broadway).
Please visit for information and tickets.

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy

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