Packed to the rafters with a hugely entertained audience with an incredible amount of talent on stage and off, this is not just another musical. With the arts under threat and music and theatre being cut in schools, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s show is a powerful advocate for the importance of the arts in education, not just music. When rock slacker and dreamer Dewey Finn takes his friend’s place teaching at a private school, he not only finds himself but unleashes his pupils’ talent and life opportunities.
This is possibly the best CO2 production I have seen, and the future looks safe in the hands of these talented youngsters. Will Hackett is perfectly cast as Dewey; the audience takes to him immediately. He is completely invested in his character, and we totally get why his pupils will follow him to the Battle of the Bands! As pent-up head teacher Mis Mullens, Grace Bryson gradually unleashes her inner rock chick with a beautiful operatic range. The band are simply wonderful: Millie-Lola Mason perfect as rule-abiding Summer, William Porter incredible as Zack, Conner Beattie drumming out a sensational turn as Freddy, Lana Cutmore amazingly cool as Katie, Niamh Cullen breaking out of why Tomika with her amazing vocals, and Harvey Yu simply scene stealing as Lawrence. Though the entire company are living their best lives in this show, the energy could fuel the Mercury for months!
As always, there were a few first night blips, and the sound wasn’t perfect, but I’m sure they would have been smoothed out. It’s a huge ensemble, and Laura Hicks and Leah Scott direct them with enthusiasm and pace, with Ashton Moore and his band simply superb. It will give you a hundred proud parent moments (even if you’re not a parent!), and they are sticking it to the man in total style!