School is in session at New Wimbledon Theatre as The School of Rock invites you to be ‘in the band’ until 26th of March.
The story follows Dewey Finn (Jake Sharp) struggling to stay a member of a rock band whilst living with his old high school band mate Ned Schneebly (Matthew Rowland). He poses as Ned to undertake a position as a teacher in a prestigious school to pay his rent and to help boost his chances of winning The Battle of the Bands, leading to him creating his own band made up of the talented and gifted children of Horace Green.
As always, I’m keen eyed towards the sets on the shows I see. This set was gorgeous for its transitions and used clever tricks to set the scene and create the key locations within the storyline. I particularly loved the giant sliding and rotating doors, it really shows the brilliance and creative ideas that the set designer (Anna Louizos) comes up with. Although some of the set pieces did have some scuffs where paint had been chipped off, that would only really stick out to those who look out for it.
This show is well known for showcasing the sheer talent that the next generation of young actors and actresses have. It really is a spectacle to watch each of the school kids thrive whilst belting out songs and not missing a single beat of the choreography. With all the scene changes and complex lighting cues and effects happening around them there is no room for errors and mistakes. A few of the actors and actresses caught my eye, one of the actresses that caught my eye was Souparnika Nair who played the role of Tomika, her character is well known for having her moment to shine during the show and her vocals suited the role perfectly. Another actress that caught my eye was Layla Pages who played the role of Summer, she perfectly portraited the characters personality and performed seamlessly alongside Dewey Finn (Jake Sharp). The character of Billy performed by Kaylenn Aires Fonseca really knew how to use his body language and funny jokes to make the audience laugh and portray his characters personality traits.
I particularly enjoyed the character arch that the school faculty had over the course of the show. A few character favourites of mine were Ms Sheinkopf who was played by Helena Pipe and Mr Williams who is played by Samuel Haughton. Each staff member had their own little moments in the show and created the overall atmosphere at Horace Green.
You can’t go without noticing that all the children have the ability to play a musical instrument. The level of talent each child has is outstanding, each and every child received a round of applause from the audience after taking it in turns to play their instruments during the song ‘You’re in the Band’ which quickly became a crowd favourite. One of my personal favourite songs is ‘If Only You Would Listen’, as it allowed each child to showcase their vocal abilities and take full advantage of the stage.
The lighting design created by Natasha Katz really portrayed the rock and roll theme of the show with lots of strobe like effects and a range of colours being used throughout. I particularly liked the guitar case being opened at the start of the show, a beam of light illuminated from the case onto the wall behind Dewey Finn (Jake Sharp) and disappeared as the guitar case closed. I also liked the LED batons that were built into the lighting truss which were used during the song ‘School of Rock (The Competition)’ and ‘Stick it to the Man (Encore)’. This really brought out the rock and roll theme of the show and made the audience feel like they were attending the rock concert.
School of Rock continues until Saturday with further information and tickets can be found at https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/school-of-rock/new-wimbledon-theatre/
Reviewer: Chloe Stallibrass
Reviewed: 21st March 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★