Review: SCHOOL OF ROCK at Lyric Theatre, Hong Kong Academy Of Performing Arts

The stage adaptation of the much-loved Jack Black film runs from Saturday 26th May through to Sunday 16th June 2024 at the Lyric Theatre, HKAPA.

By: May. 28, 2024
Review: SCHOOL OF ROCK at Lyric Theatre, Hong Kong Academy Of Performing Arts
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School of Rock the Musical, adapted from the hit Review: SCHOOL OF ROCK at Lyric Theatre, Hong Kong Academy Of Performing Arts Jack Black film, opened at the Lyric Theatre, Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts on Saturday, 25th May 2024. With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Glenn Slater, and a book by Julian Fellowes, this stage adaptation brings the beloved film to life.

The musical follows the journey of Dewey Finn, a strapped-for-cash, wannabe rockstar who finds himself posing as a substitute teacher at a prestigious elementary school, Horace Green. Without any teaching experience and an antipathy for kids, Dewey couldn't care less about what the students would learn. However, his attitude changes when he overhears the students performing in classical music and realises that they are his ticket to the "Battle of the Bands". He transforms these over-privileged preteen students into an incredible rock band and in the process, he helps the kids to find their talent and their voice. 

Initially, I was a little hesitant about seeing the musical adaptation, as the movie is so iconic and was a favourite of mine. The thought of adding many original songs to turn it into a musical was something I had been unsure about. However, I was pleasantly surprised and it exceeded my expectations. The musical masterfully retains the familiar elements and spirit that fans of the movie cherish, while expanding upon them with new and original songs and great choreography, making it a very successful stage adaptation. 

Review: SCHOOL OF ROCK at Lyric Theatre, Hong Kong Academy Of Performing Arts The lighting design by Natasha Katz, costumes and sets by Anna Louizos, and sound design by Mick Potter deserve special recognition because combined, they give audiences a visually stunning and immersive experience, flicking seamlessly between apartment, school and rock concerts. 

Connor Gillooly, portraying Dewey Finn, delivers an extraordinary performance and really embodies the character. Given how out-of-control and eccentric his character can be, Gillooly demonstrates a high level of control, with his impressive and unwavering level of energy throughout the show and showcases a remarkable vocal range, despite balancing the physical demands of this role. Furthermore, Gillooly has impeccable comedic timing that truly shines throughout the show, leaving audiences in fits of laughter.

As for Celi O'Connor, who portrays Principal Rosalie Mullins, captivates audiences with her beautiful vocals, but what stood out the most was how she delivered her character's transformation going from the strict and authoritative principal, who is all about formality and discpline, to gradually revealling her deep love for rock music. Her rendition of "Where did the Rock go" is incredibly moving and serves as a striking and poignant contrast to the overall tone of the show, leaving a lasting impact on the audience. 

Last but definitely not least to applaud are the young cast members, who despite there being an offstage band in the pit, all play their own instruments. These young actors are utterly phenomenal and they bring pure joy to the show! Review: SCHOOL OF ROCK at Lyric Theatre, Hong Kong Academy Of Performing Arts

This musical is a must-see for families. Alongside its comedic elements, it delivers heartwarming moments that resonate with audiences such as "If Only You Would Listen" and "Where did the rock go" which would strike a chord with many audience members. In addition, it is worth appreciating the production's efforts to incorporate elements of local Hong Kong culture, such as references to boy bands and singers like Mirror and Tyson Yoshi, as well as local Hong Kong fast food chains which helped add a delightful touch that made the audience laugh.

The School of Rock the Musical runs for a limited time only until 16th June 2024, and I highly recommend securing tickets to witness this sensational production. 


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