Thursday, April 25, 2024

Young rockers light up the stage

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The cast of School of Rock delivers a high-energy performance at Harlequin Musical Theatre. Photo supplied Jarrod Brown

It cannot be easy to fill the shoes of Hollywood heavyweight Jack Black, but the talented Josh Pinho rises to the occasion to deliver a memorable performance for Harlequin Musical Theatre.

Pinho plays lead character Dewey Finn in the theatre’s head-banging production of the show School of Rock, directed by Robin Lane and on now until May 6.

The production is based on the 2003 film of the same name, featuring Black as Finn, a wannabe rock star who’s booted out of his band and decides to earn money by posing as a substitute teacher at a prestigious US prep school.

Finn has no interest in academic work and creates his own unusual curriculum for his class, turning them into a “guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band”.

Pinho has talent equal to the role and delivers a massive performance, demonstrating not just a powerful rock music voice but also comedic timing as he mocks the characters around him for their perceived lack of coolness.

One with whom he butts heads to great amusement, and eventual romantic chemistry, is the prep school’s principal Rosalie Mullins, played by the dynamic Nicolette Nes.

She and her colleagues are understandably not sold on Finn and his unconventional teaching methods, as he focuses more on rocking out than reading, writing, and mathematics.

The show’s cast is full of talented young performers, with the ones playing Finn’s class members throwing themselves behind his ambition to turn them into rockers and enter the Battle of the Bands competition.

What Finn lacks in teaching experience he more than makes up for with enthusiasm.

Hilarity ensues as he and his young protégés hatch a plan to escape from the school so they can get to the contest, but it’s nearly derailed by a dreaded parent-teacher night, which Finn had good reason to fear.

As well as top-notch musical theatre performances from the entire cast and supporting band, this is a story full of positive messages.

Pinho learns he doesn’t have to live up to the “rock God” image to motivate people or to be taken seriously, Mullins learns there are different ways of teaching and learning and Finn’s young pupils gain self-esteem and confidence by taking a chance and stepping outside their comfort zones.

The production is a credit to its cast and backstage crew and is not to be missed.

School of Rock plays at Harlequin Musical Theatre, 563 Pakuranga Road, Howick, until May 6.

To book, go online to

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