MusicalNorth WestReview

We Will Rock You – Regent Theatre, Stoke-On-Trent

Reviewer: Mel Osborne

Music/Lyircs: Queen                   

Book/Director: Ben Elton

The award-winning musical by Ben Elton and Queen is back for its 20th year running. We Will Rock You is a jukebox musical of Queen’s most loved songs. The show is a tribute, not only to the band but to music and live performance.

The show starts how it means to go on; loud –  in fact, the sound system is proficient enough to emulate the electricity of a big arena performance. This show is certainly more than an average musical, it is an experience, with dry ice, scaffolding and strobe lighting. The costumes and styling are fun and quirky.

The audience are transported 300 years into the future, where people live their lives online and everyone is a number not a name. Music is dead and not even a distant memory in their minds. Everyone seems happy with this apart from Galileo (Damien Walsh) and Scaramouche (Anna Davey). Galileo hears song words in his head and Scaramouche has no desire to conform. They are a threat to the Globalsoft corporation who are threatened by those they call ‘Bohemians’ and they try to alter their brains. This leads to a journey of discovery for the pair as they seek their identity.

For a show that was created back in 2002 it is impressive that the creators have kept updating the script with modern-day references. This keeps it relevant, fresh, and downright hilarious. Ben Elton once again has written slick, entertaining dialogue. It has certain comparisons to The Rocky Horror Show with its campness and tongue-in-cheek manner but stands its own ground with warm, inoffensive humour that does not take itself too seriously.

It is announced at the beginning of the show that Galileo and Scaramouche are played by understudies. Walsh’s boyish charm and effortless range belt out across the theatre, while Davey’s dulcet velvet tones are beautiful and a joy to listen to. The on-stage chemistry between the pair is electric.  Jenny O’Leary is wonderfully evil as Killer Queen and performs Don’t Stop Me Now with energy and vigour. Michael Mckell as Cliff is exceptionally comical and gets the audience laughs.

Audience members are asked not to singalong at the start of the show which is understandable but could be very hard for a loyal Queen fan. It is unsurprising that the cast receives a standing ovation at the end as it is a night of non-stop fun.  We will Rock you is an example of how well a show can work when creators keep up to date with popular culture. However, it also shows that although trends may change the music of Queen will never die.

Runs Until Saturday 12 March 2022

The Reviews Hub Score

Electric

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The North West team is under the editorship of John Roberts. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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