Review: Tyne Theatre Productions presents School Of Rock
Tyne Theatre Productions Presents School of Rock – Tyne Theatre and Opera House – 21st February 2023
Many films, in recent years, have been adapted into musicals;Sister Act, Legally Blonde and Ghost to name but a few. One film from 2003 ‘School of Rock’ screamed out for the musical theatre treatment and Andrew Lloyd Webber took the baton and ran with it to great effect along with a book by Julian Fellowes, based on the movie written by Mike White, and the lyrical talent of Glenn Slater. School of Rock tells the tale of Dewey Finn, a wannabe but failed rock musician who takes the place of his best friend as a substitute teacher in a well to do private school and causes all sorts of mayhem.
Tyne Theatre Productions opened their version of this rock musical this evening at The Tyne Theatre and Opera House and if anyone was concerned that they would not do justice to the Jack Black film then their fears would be calmed from the opening number from No Vacancy helmed by the wonderful voice of Bridget Anne. This leads to the introduction of Sam Honour playing the Jack Black role of Dewey Finn. Honour commands the stage from the off and provides a character that does not imitate the character of Jack Black but is equally endearing and the audience takes to him from the word go,This is testament to his outstanding performance.
With his rock career in tatters, Dewey is forced to live his lifewith his best friend, Ned Schneebly, played with great comedic and adorable glee by Craig Wallace, and his demanding wife Patty Di Marco (Becky Clayburn) before he accidently receives a phone call for the aforementioned Ned about a substitute teacher role at the prestigious Horace Green Preparatory School whose head teacher is the strait laced and no nonsense Mrs Mullins (Charlie Younger.)
This show is one of joy, self-realisation, and sticking it to the man and the energy that comes from the stage invigorates the audience to pay it back in spadefuls. Younger, as the prim and proper headmistress commands the stage with an iron grip andyou are never in any doubt how much she loves her job and the children while maintaining an air of regret for a life left behind.
The stars of the show are without doubt the children who play all of their own instruments, and in some cases have learned to play them during the rehearsal process for this production. I am not going to name specific kids individually because it would not be fair to single out any of these superb performances.
Tonight I saw Team Prince, To a person they presented characters who maintained their place in the band to great effect and their ensemble singing was a credit to the musical director, Jenni Watson, who is no stranger to the pit of stages in the North East. Team Queen is playing the alternate performances this week and having spoken to the Director Sarah Bond is equally as committed and adorable as the team I saw this evening so, while I cannot come back to review a second performance, I am delighted to wish the other group a superb opening night on Wednesday.
It would be remiss of me to say that this opening performance was not without some problems as there were long pauses, production issues, and I feel that cast could have been utilised much more to take items off the stage, when required, to speed up the scene changes.
The set, sound and lighting were all provided by Tyne Theatre Productions’ show partner Tyne Audio who created a wonderful canvas and technical expertise for the action, The band, when the children were not providing their own accompaniment, were superb. As a regular northeast theatre goer, it was lovely to see some familiar faces returning to the pit at The Tyne Theatre and Opera House.
This was a superb opening night for Tyne Theatre Productions and I thoroughly recommend that you get along to see this heart-warming musical before the end of the week as you will, as the audience did tonight, be on your feet clapping and then leaving this beautiful and historic theatre buzzing perhaps even thinking about taking up an instrument yourself so you can stick it to the man.
Tyne Theatre Productions Presents School of Rock runs at The Tyne Theatre and Opera House until Saturday 25th March 2023.
Review by Stephen Stokoe (Gifted Tickets)
Photographer: Lewis Palmer Photography, Location: Trillians Newcastle) Please note these are promotional Images, not production images from the show.
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