Review: Children lead the way in the School Of Rock on Northampton stage

Emily-Jane Clark reviews School of Rock at the Royal & Derngate, Northampton

By Peter Ormerod
Tuesday, 7th June 2022, 5:07 pm
Everything you need for a good family night out': members of the School of Rock cast (photo: Paul Coltas)
Everything you need for a good family night out': members of the School of Rock cast (photo: Paul Coltas)

As somebody who failed to play anything other than Three Blind Mice (badly) on the recorder when I was a child, I was in absolute awe of the young musicians who smashed it in the School of Rock the Musical at the Derngate this week.

While the adult cast were fantastic, the youngsters completely and utterly stole the show with their boundless energy, remarkable talent and charisma.

Based on the hit 2003 Jack Black movie, the show follows Dewey Finn, a failed wannabe rock star who tries to earn some cash by posing as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school – Horace Green. There he turns a class of straight-A students into a super-cool rock band.

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While it must have been a daunting task to take on the famous Jack Black role, Jake Sharp did a top job as Finn, his energy never faltering despite him being in almost every scene.

The soundtrack is spectacular. Catchy songs like Stick It To The Man had us all rocking in our seats, but one of my favourites was the beautiful, melancholy number Where Did The Rock Go?, sung by head mistress Rosalie Mullins (Rebecca Lock). Her outstanding vocals gave us all goosebumps.

The children were not only talented musicians but also had fantastic comic timing and got more laughs than any of the adults. Bass player Katie, played by Daisy Hanna, was as funny as she was musically talented, as was Freddie (Isaac Forward) on drums and Lawrence (Angus McDougall) on the keyboard. Super talented Harry Churchill as Zack stunned the audience with his amazing lead guitar skills.

My children’s favourite character was Summer, played by Evie Warner – she was hilarious, and her performance was faultless. We also loved Rebecca Lock as the strait-laced headteacher who rediscovers her love for rock music.

Featuring 14 new numbers from Andrew Lloyd Webber and all the songs from the original film, School Of Rock The Musical has everything you need for a good family night out. Comedy, catchy tunes, eye catching choreography and as an added bonus – there was candy floss on sale in the foyer!

School of Rock runs until Saturday June 11. Visit royalandderngate.co.uk/whats-on/school-of-rock to book.