Andrew Lloyd Webber took the 2003 hit film School of Rock and transformed it into a musical. Now St Joseph’s College has taken his musical and transformed the lead character from Mr Dewey Finn to Ms Dewey Finn and, in so doing, cast prolific and versatile actor Aimee Butcher in the role made famous by Jack Black.
Renowned for the strength of its performing arts, St Joseph’s College consistently fills the theatre at Dance East to capacity for its annual musicals and this year was no exception. The production showcased the depth of musical and acting talent at the school over three consecutive nights to packed audiences.
Centre stage throughout was Sixth Former Aimee, with an assured performance as a down-on-her-luck rocker masquerading as a supply teacher at an uptight private school. Her grungy, lovable rock chick persona was ably counterbalanced by the apparently conventional Principal, played by the Head Girl of St Joseph’s College, Charley Hewitt.
Both Aimee and Charley have set their sights on careers in the musical theatre; Charley having already secured offers from three prestigious performing arts colleges. The girls hone their talents both in school and out. Last year both took LAMDA Gold Medal examinations through St Joseph’s and were awarded distinctions, achieving an A* A-level equivalent.
In School of Rock, they were supported by a rollicking cast of boys and girls drawn from throughout the senior school. There were many fine performances, with Isabelle Atkinson as Summer Hathaway and Mariam Pope as Tomika Spencer amongst those standing out. Some of the biggest laughs of the evening were raised by Wilfred Kemsley and Morgan Willetts as Tomika’s parents.
Just as impressive as the acting, was the music. School of Rock perfectly showcased the abundance of musical talent at St Joseph’s College – in fact the school has more potential rock stars than Horace Green itself. In the show, two bands fought it out in the climactic Battle of the Bands competition – No Vacancy and the School of Rock Band – and both filled the auditorium with sound.
Special mentions to the young School of Rock Band members Oscar Bolton (guitar), his cousin Freddie Bolton (drums), William Scoones (keyboard) and Olivia Max (bass).
Mrs Danielle Clarke, Principal of St Joseph’s College, said, ‘It was an absolute pleasure to watch all three nights of the run. Months of hard work go into productions of this kind but performances at this level are incredibly rewarding for the students taking part. Congratulations to all involved – you gave a lot of people a fantastic, rocking night out.’