Book: Ben Elton
Music & Lyrics: Queen
Director: Cornelius Baltus
From a rocky start in 2002, We Will Rock You has defied critical backlash to become one of the UK’s best-loved musicals. Seen by over 6.5 million people it ran for 4600 performances at the Dominion Theatre in the West End, where the famous gold statue of Freddie Mercury guarded the patrons from his perch high above the entrance. This revived, re-designed and re-energised new touring production is even better than the original and boasts a cast of such quality, it is impossible not to be completely won over.
Set in a dystopian future, it’s 2310, and music has been outlawed. All thought is controlled by Globalsoft Corporation, and life is lived entirely on the internet. There’s no place for originality or free spirit. A rag-tag band of free-thinking ‘Bohemians’ set out to find the last surviving musical instrument on the planet and bring back the mythical ‘Rock and Roll’. That the subject matter is treated with complete knowingness, with its tongue placed firmly in its cheek, is one of its greatest strengths. The laughs in Ben Elton’s script come thick and fast.
However, it’s the music and in particular, the spectacular cast’s delivery of it that makes this production unmissable. As our hero Galileo Figaro, Olivier-nominated Ian McIntosh is an absolute standout, there aren’t enough superlatives to describe his outstanding voice and stunning range. As Scaramouche, Elena Skye is a wise-cracking wonder with fabulous vocals. TV regular Michael McKell provides the lion’s share of the comedy, bringing genuine belly laughs and impressive vocals as Buddy Holly, Amy Di Bartolomeo is also a memorable Oz. One small crimp in the evening is Jenny O’Leary as Killer Queen whose vocals are, quite frankly messy, only exacerbated by the fact these songs are world famous and her co-stars are at the top of their game. That said, the positives overwhelm any negatives.
If it’s an uplifting, feel-good night, with the music of Queen, a crazy, fun story, delivered by a world-class cast your after, then I’d beg, borrow or steal a ticket to this warm-hearted wonder of a show.
Runs until 28 December 2019 | Image: Johan Persson
In went to see this show last week and I was seriously disappointed. My daughter gave me the tickets because she knew that I had seen an earlier production which was absolutely fabulous.
This remake is a cheap pantomime of a show. There are some really good numbers, but the overall effect of restaging the show on an internet theme is to lose the original idea. Changing the words of classic Queen songs to try to appeal to a newer audience is a serious error. I do not want to turn this into a rant, so I will just say,get back to the original show, and the truley great live musicians who were at the heart of the original experience.