SCHOOL OF ROCK: Understudy Joel Montague takes on the role of Dewey Finn

Based on the 2003 film starring Jack Black, SCHOOL OF ROCK is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s first rock musical since the 1971 smash hit Jesus Christ Superstar. The show premiered on Broadway in 2015 and made its UK premiere at the New London Theatre in November 2016. David Finn plays the role of Dewey and I reviewed his performance last year when the show opened. Last weekend, knowing David was not going to be performing, I thought I would cease the opportunity to go and see his understudy for the role, Joel Montague.

Dewey Finn is a washed up, unemployed guitarist, sponging off of his long time friend Ned who has been letting him live, rent-free with him for most of his adult life. When Ned’s girlfriend insists he throw Dewey out for not paying his way, Dewey realises he needs to do something to make some money and fast! When Dewey answers the phone to a school principal, looking for supply teacher Ned, Dewey sees the high  income opportunity as a great way to make him some money fast so he pretends to be Ned and embarks on a few weeks adventure, posing as a school teacher.

I last saw Joel Montague in Funny Girl, alongside Sheridan Smith. He glided across the stage in huge tap numbers and was nicely cast in the role of Eddie (a very different character to that of Dewey Finn!) He brings a very refreshing approach to this new role, made famous by Jack Black and manages to play the character without looking like he is impersonating the rock star. Joel plays the character in a more geeky way, with puppy dog eyes and is more of a sassy Dewey as apposed to the sweat soaked unwashed moron that is the expected way to play the character. Joel gives great vocals in the show to the brilliant songs that School Of Rock offers, blending a rock tone with a classic musical theatre style.

The New London Theatre was jam packed on Saturday afternoon and I couldn’t see an empty seat in the house. It’s great to see shows doing so well in the West End and School Of Rock deserves to hang around for a long time!

SCHOOL OF ROCK is currently booking at the New London Theatre until 31 May 2017. Buy tickets