Dumped by his band, jobless and financially dependent upon musician buddy, Ned, Dewey Finn has hit desperate times. Ned is a nerdy substitute teacher dominated by his bossy, ambitious girlfriend. Demanding rent arrears is her nasty method of ridding their lives of Dewey.
Pretending to be Ned, Dewey lands a position as relief teacher at an exclusive school. The privileged students at Horace Green Prep School are living elite but regimented existences. Tethered to sky high parental and scholastic expectations, they actually feel unheard and voiceless.
Glaringly and hilariously out of place, Dewey, now ‘Mr Schneebly’, challenges the entirety of their stylised lives, founded by their forefathers. The picture perfect, American class is transformed into a rebellious, rule breaking rock band with a new vision: ‘Battle of the Bands’.
If you can overlook the real life outcomes in litigious America of missing elite children and a hijacked bus, this is all tremendous, rebellious fun. No school shooting. No Amber Alerts. Not a cop or lawyer or news crew in sight. Instead, there’s a talented, ‘new kids on the block’, Rock Band hungry for competitive victory.
They don’t win but things are changed for the better when perceptions are altered. Parents are impressed and proud and the establishment accepts challenge and embraces change. Dewey is now the school’s Music Coach.
Brent Hill as Dewey Finn is absolutely awesome. His abilities are astounding and his energies are unlimited. He owns this role and powers the entire performance. He demonstrates the diversity of his skill set and award winning background as musician, vocalist and actor. He shows us that someone, such as Ed Sheeran, who looks different can unleash unexpected potential.
The child cast are all extraordinary, potentially prodigious performers already immersed in music, dance and theatre. Special mention must be made of the talented instrumentalists: Remy Grunden (Katie) attacking bass guitar with attitude; Kempton Maloney (Freddy) caning the skins as drummer. In addition to the rhythm section, there is Zane Blumeris (Zack) totally cutting loose on lead guitar. Chihana Perera as Tamika is a tiny but formidable leader. Very probably a future political candidate.
The musical genius of Andrew Lloyd Webber is undeniable. His cunning capacity for satire is clearly present in the opening song I’m Too Hot for You. That number just took narcissism to a new level. School of Rock is a tremendous production and attendance is is highly recommended.
School of Rock The Musical
Lyric Theatre – Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Cultural Precinct, Southbank (Brisbane)
Performance: Saturday 13 July 2019 – 7.30pm
Season continues to 18 August 2019
Capitol Theatre, 13 Campbell Street, Haymarket (Sydney)
Season: 10 November 2019 – 26 January 2020
For more information, visit: au.schoolofrockthemusical.com for details.
Image: School of Rock The Musical – photo by Matthew Murphy
Review: Michele-Rose Boylan