BWW Interview: Actor David Fynn Talks SCHOOL OF ROCK Ahead of UK Premiere
David Fynn's credits range from She Stoops to Conquer and Romeo and Juliet at the National Theatre to Sherlock, Undateable and Game of Thrones. Now he's starring as rocker wannabe-turned-substitute teacher Dewey Finn in the UK premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Julian Fellowes and Glenn Slater's School of Rock, which begins previews at New London Theatre on 24 October.
How did you get the acting bug?
Funnily enough it was an Andrew Lloyd Webber show. In primary school, we did a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and I played Joseph.
Where did you train?
I did the acting course at Webber Douglas.
What was your first professional acting job?
Spooks on the BBC was my first acting job. I had three lines. They cut two of them and only showed the back of my head! I was wonderful.
How do you juggle projects? Does doing something like Game of Thrones give you freedom to do other things?
It's not so much a case of juggling - I think it's more about who's willing to give me a job next! Having some TV experience certainly helps you get seen for a wider of variety of work though.
How did School of Rock come to you?
I live in LA, so I flew to New York to meet Andrew Lloyd Webber and Laurence Connor to audition for the show. They created such a warm and welcoming environment in the room that it was nothing but fun.
Did you know much about the US production, or the film?
Yes, I'd seen the Broadway production and listened to the soundtrack. I was blown away by it. The kids were so amazing and Alex Brightman is such a talented guy. I saw it the night before my last audition and was so infected by their energy. And yes, I've watched the film every Christmas since it was made. It's a bit of a tradition.
What's your take on Dewey?
Dewey is a loveable guy really and has enthusiasm in abundance - he just doesn't really know how to harness it. When he meets the kids and realises how talented they are, it gives him renewed purpose and he goes on an epic journey with them.
Did you draw on anyone you know for his wannabe rock star persona?
With any project I like to look at fun places to draw from for characters. There are two people in my life that I've drawn on (but can't say who they are!), the obvious bands like Zepplin, Sabbath, ACDC, a touch of Jim Carrey and Jack Black (obvs), and I always think of an adolescent Labrador when I think of Dewey.
What's your personal taste in music?
I go through phases. I've been on a bit of a metal diet in the build-up to the show, but now that I'm back in London, I'm enjoying some grime again. Reppin' innit.
What's it like working with all the kids?
Working with the kids is certainly tiring because, well, they're kids, but also because there's three teams of them in the company. It's almost disgusting how talented they are though, but it certainly allows me to be immature and get away with it.
How would you describe Andrew's music in this production, and how do you think it compares to his other shows?
What I love about Andrew's music in this is that it feels like such a return to his rock roots. Those awesome guitar licks in Jesus Christ Superstar were so great and there's plenty of that stuff in this, only now it's played by 10-year-old prodigies. In that respect it's similar to Superstar, but it's totally different to anything he's done since.
What's it like playing instruments as well?
It's certainly a challenge. It takes me about two weeks to learn a solo that it takes the kids two minutes to learn. And if I had to learn anything outside the show, my head would explode. But when you're on the stage and a guitar solo works, it's pretty frickin' badass.
What's your favourite number to perform?
I change my mind on a daily basis, but I think there's something really special about "You're In The Band". It's the beginning of the journey for Dewey and the kids, and it propels the show to a new level.
Do you think the show makes a strong argument for the importance of the arts in schools?
Absolutely. Not just because of the content, but the fact that there's so much talent up there. The proof is in the pudding.
Finally, what sort of experience do you think audiences will have?
There's something for everyone to identify with in the show, whether adults or children. There's plenty of comedy, plenty of tugging on your heartstrings and plenty of rock!
Photo credit: Craig Sugden