School of Rock

Date 23rd September 2023
Society Worthing Musical Theatre Company
Venue Pavilion Theatre Worthing
Type of Production Musical
Director Saxona Lacey
Musical Director Dan Lacey

Report

Author: Keith Smithers

What an excellent choice of musical to decide on for this theatrical group! The stage version has been around now for about eight years. With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber (with a little help from Mozart) and a storyline by Julian Fellowes, combined with the talents of this Worthing society, the outcome could only be a total success.  

The main man, Dewey Finn (Dom O’Brien) led us from failed rock star and although having no teaching qualifications was able through his dedicated love of music manage to coach a class of children to play well enough to take part in the battle of the bands. This character had to act, sing and lead the whole plot. His drive and enthusiasm were relentless. In order to achieve his aims, he is however hindered by both school staff and the fee-paying parents of the school. The teachers encouraged by Gabe (Jonathan Stamp) were his main opposition. The school principal, Rosalie Mullins (Amy Stubbins), tried to instil in him the ethics of the school but at the same time treating him fairly, albeit he was a fish out of water in this particular environment. The Queen of the Night is one of the most difficult arias that Mozart wrote and she sang this excerpt beautifully.  During the period of failed rock star and unqualified teacher, Dewey was staying with former band member, Ned Schneebly (Callum Black) and his girl friend Patty Di Marco (Rachel Davis). Dan, a good friend for years was happy to help Dewey whilst his girl friend Patti could not wait to get rid of him.

So, now to the people who were on stage for a great deal of the evening, had lots to sing and play and who also had plenty of movement and choreography to expedite - the fifteen children in the cast. The wordy songs were well learnt and sung with enthusiasm and clarity.

Most of the songs were rock style but there were also two songs with a simple tune and straightforward harmonies which were a beautiful contrast to the rest of the repertoire.

The Dewey appointed manager of the school band was Summer (Eva Morgans-Mills) and the four with instruments on stage were Zack on lead guitar, (Stanley White), Katie on bass (Mia Heppenstall),  Freddy on percussion (Alfie Day) and Lawrence on keys (Dillan Braybrook). They synchronised with the actual band of six led by Dan Lacey extremely well and the numbers they played live on their own were equally impressive.  Tomika (Sofia Hall) was also a late entry to the band and her voice was delightful. 

The technical side went smoothly, the scenery was well managed and despite the large numbers on stage with that scenery, the choreography was totally organised and executed with precision and most enjoyable to watch.  

Congratulations to all the director, musicians, performers, those backstage and the whole production team for a thoroughly entertaining evening.