As the lights in the auditorium go down for the start of School of Rock, The Musical, there’s an announcement that the children in the cast really do play their own instruments – and when you see how rocking awesome they all are, you can understand why some audience members have assumed that they must be pretending. These kids really do climb to the top of Mount Rock.

Brent Hill and cast. Photograph © Matthew Murphy

School of Rockis based on the 2003 Richard Linklater film starring Jack Black. Andrew Lloyd Webber saw its potential for the stage and snapped up the rights, writing the score with lyrics by Glenn Slater and book by Julian Fellowes ( Downton Abbey).

The musical sticks fairly closely to the film, telling the story of slobby no-hoper Dewey Finn, a rock ‘n’ roll nerd who desperately wants to win Battle of the Bands. But a few weeks away from the competition, things start to go downhill fast. He is dumped from the band No Vacancy for constantly upstaging the lead singer, and is told by his best friend Ned Schneebly (who he has been sponging off for years),...

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