Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest musical and the most recent Broadway transfer, School of Rock, has arrived in the West End. Based on the Jack Black film of the same name, the show has received much publicity over the preceding months and it leaves you questioning, ‘is it worth the hype’? The slightly awkward looking photos of Lloyd Webber outside the New London Theatre do little to relieve the trepidation that this is a show is not going to deliver.
I confess I went in with these preconceptions, added to by the fact that Julian Fellows, who is about as far removed as you can get from American rock, wrote the book. I was expecting something that would be, at best, lukewarm.
After seeing the show, I am a convert. All my apprehension evaporated in the first moments of the show. The lyrics and dialogue are witty, the music is catchy and everything you want from a rock musical and the cast are phenomenal.
The story is a typical cliché underdog tale and you know how its going to end but all along you find yourself rooting for the lead character and enjoying being swept along a journey filled with fun and joy – the joy of music.
And isn’t that part of what a musical is about? The celebration of live music. The emotive power it has on an audience and its ability to engage and say more than words ever can.
The creative team have done a great job and Lloyd Webber has proved that he can still create a hit after a few shaky years involving 'Love Never Dies' and 'Stephen Ward'.
Special mention has to go to the company of kids that sing, dance and play characters, not just children, but they also play their own instruments live on stage. These kids have a bright future ahead and, if nothing else, kudos to Lloyd Webber for encouraging and nurturing this kind of talent. Bravo!
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