‘School of Rock the Musical’ at the Grand Opera House, Belfast, Review

‘School of Rock’ has been a family favourite since the film — starring Jack Black — came out in 2003, and after being transformed into a musical in 2015 — with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Glenn Slater, and the Playwright being Julian Fellowes — the stage show has also been met with worldwide success.

The show ran from the 9th of November – 13th of November at the Grand Opera House, Belfast, as part of it’s UK Wide Tour, and I went to see it on the 12th. Since then, I had a pretty hectic November that has made me unable to write this review until now, but here’s my thoughts on the performance I saw nonetheless.

One of the main things that made the performance so great was the cast, the adult version which included Jake Sharp as Dewey Finn, with Alex Tomkins performing the role in certain performances. Rebecca Lock took on the role of Miss Mullins, with Matthew Rowland joining as Ned Schneebly, and Nadia Violet Johnson joining as Patti Di Marco. But based on whether Jake Sharp or Alex Tomkins played the lead on the night I was there — we were only able to get a brochure and not a programme — I feel like they were able to make me feel like I was watching Jack Black, a big plus for anyone who has grown up being a fan of the movie!

Something I wasn’t a big fan of was the fact that a couple of the songs were changed from the original motion soundtrack, mainly the ‘Give Up Your Dreams’ song that Patti is meant to sing, and replaced instead with a shorter version. However, the rest of the performance more than made up for that, and the before point was only truly made based on the fact that I have been repeatedly listening to the soundtrack for the last few years.

Something else I also liked was how towards the end — when, in the film version, the parents of the kids arrive at the show — the actors playing the kids’ parents came into the audience, which made the show seem extremely real. This was the part that made me forgive my earlier disappointment of a song being cut short, and it was an extremely clever angle to the entire performance.

As well as everything I’ve mentioned so far, there are a couple of other points. Miss Mullan’s was extremely well played, as was Ned Schneebly, and as was Patti. The set design was also extremely clever, and I thought each design matched the scene perfectly. But most importantly, the kids were extremely good.

So overall, I think the performance I saw of ‘School of Rock the Musical’ was extremely well performed, with good set designs to go along with it. Other than still being disappointed over one song in it, the rest of it didn’t disappoint, and there were clever ways around how to turn a scene in the movie into a scene on stage, which was extremely well done.

‘School of Rock the Musical’ was on from the 9th-13th of November, and will resume the tour from the 15th of January next year. Overall, I will give the performance 4 out of 5 stars, and it was an extremely good show.


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