Andrew Lloyd Webber's response to Jack Black's hit movie revives his 1970s' rock roots and delivers a heartfelt love-letter to the music that can never die.
School of Rock, The Musical is an unabashed celebration of rock's timeless appeal to the loners and social misfits who find a voice and a sense of belonging in the reckless abandon of the rock-n-roll dream.
Closely following the movie, the storyline has a down-and-out guitarist conning his way into employment at an exclusive prep-school. Here, he unleashes heavy-metal mayhem on the pre-teens who've been browbeaten into conforming to the relentless pursuit of academic success.
In a heart-warming blast of energy, enthusiasm and preternatural talent, the extremely young cast present a raucous affirmation of Pete Townsend's old adage - The kids are alright.
It would be unfair to single out individuals as a roster of 36 child actors supply the nightly turnout of 12 pupils at the School of Rock – suffice to say you can expect to be blown away by the vocal prowess, superb musicianship and sharply drilled chorus work from performers who are not much taller than their guitars.
The kids rebellion against their over-scheduled lives is neatly summed up in the sing-along anthem "Stick it to The Man" and there is a very precise definition of the 'The Man' as the entity which brought us global warming, the Kardashians and E-scooters.
The metal-head evangelist calling the shots was played by Joe Kosky who captured Jack Black's gleeful rabble-rousing while making the role his own with a fine display of physical clowning.
The show's multi-generational appeal is driven home by Amy Lehpamer playing the uptight school principle who re-discovers the repressed passions her youthful dreams in the impressive ballad "Where Did the Rock Go?"
As is expected in a show of this kind the production values are electrifying. It is difficult to think of better way to usher in the rites of spring than attending The School of Rock.
What: School of Rock
Where & when: The Civic, until Sunday, September 29
Reviewed by: Paul Simei-Barton