School of Rock really rocked the Thebarton Theatre on the delayed Opening Night performance! The two weeks extra practice paid off! However, it must have been awkward not to be able to see the reaction of the audience as the adults were wearing masks. But the sounds of appreciation made up for it, especially at the end.
Pelican Productions must have had a hard job picking from so many talented youth. They chose two casts of about 50 children in each. I saw Cast One.
School of Rock The Musical is based on the 2003 film. The stage musical was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and first performed in 2015. It was set in the 1970s when most of the cast, and the majority of the audience, weren’t even born!
The stage setup for the rock concert was there in the beginning. I loved the clever stage design using lots of levels and stairs. The opening scene was wonderful, although the words were a little hard to hear when the “No Vacancy” group started singing and playing – typical of a rock concert!
Most of the costumes were black, white and red, particularly the school children of all ages. The boldness of the colours reflected the strictness and discipline of the school and the rigidity of adult life, but also represented the teenagers’ rebellion and freedom of expression in music and dance. Bec Schembri’s choreography was superb.
Oliver John played Dewey Finn, the lead singer, who embodied the rebellious wanna-be rock star. He was on stage most of the time, was a strong singer and played the dramatic lead character with gusto!
Mim Sarre was Rosalie Mullins, the principal of the school. She was very strict and straight until we found out in the second half of the show that she loved music and she dreamed about her freedom. Her voice was just amazing. Her song Where Did The Rock Go? just epitomised the longing for childhood and teenage freedom that parents have when they’re weighed down by their responsibility – the message of the musical.
Then there was Summer, delightfully played by Madeleine Schroeter, as a precocious child, but a great organiser and band manager.
Annabelle Fleming, as shy Tomika, had a wonderful voice, especially when she sang ‘Amazing Grace’ which just blew everyone away.
Inara Lang was bass guitarist Kate, who had The Face combined with The Attitude. No wonder she featured on the cover of the program!
All the cast was talented and well rehearsed – too many to mention!
Of course it’s the Directors who co-ordinate and make these performances come together – Jen Frith and Bec Schembri; Music Director Kylie Green and Band Directors Kylie Green and Ethan Hurn.
Jen Frith’s costumes were superb. The wigs were suitably loud and long while the hairdressing was fantastic with ribbons and plaits, complementing the makeup. Well done.
The lighting was varied and bright as befits a rock show. The sound was excellent and special effects were stunning.
I think because of the restrictions in place the theatre was nearly full. There were lots of parents and mostly kids. A lot of friends and family stayed afterwards to greet the 50 cast members and congratulate them on their stellar performance.