It was a long-running musical in the West End and now the Touring Production of We Will Rock You (WWRY) has started!
Set in the future where Globalsoft and boss Killer Queen, run the iPlanet where free thinking, creative humans are arrested and brainwashed. Online conformist consumerism is the only life – a time after real life existed. Musical instruments do not exist and ‘music’ is only provided by the corporation. There is a group of rebels, the Bohemians, who fight the Company and live underground searching for the secret to the mythical legend that is Rock. Two young loners, Galileo (Ian McIntosh) and Scaramouche (Elena Skye) join the Bohemians and embark on a journey to uncover the power of Rock….. and our freedom.
WWRY is a timeless concept where music/free speech is squashed by the ruling party which the rebels try to over throw – it’s humanity and a story that can be told a thousand times and we’d still love it. This version is based on Queen’s back catalogue of epic tracks, which is a perfect match in my opinion. A LOT of songs are crammed in to the show, some only had a snippet and others had the words changed to suit the scene. Ideal. It worked. There were a couple of tracks that were a bit of a filler but they still moved the story along and to be fair you wouldn’t really have wanted them not to be in the show.
It was a hugely entertaining, fun show and although there wasn’t huge chemistry on stage, (bear in mind we’re at the start of the tour so it will be great to see the actor dynamics at the end) the story was engaging and the main characters were portrayed excellently by the actors, plus the music added another level. There was a live band and not backing tracks which only enhanced the atmosphere.
Although it can be an interesting experience to hear a Queen song without Freddie’s vocals, especially if you are a hard-core fan, when it’s part of a show, and a story that draws you in to the freedom of rock, you can only applaud the performers. In reality, they were all good, some powerful performances and amazing voice control from Killer Queen (Jenny O’Leary). Many, many good tracks but if I had to choose my favourites they would have to be: ‘Who Wants to Live Forever’ – Galileo and Scaramouche, ‘ 7 Seas of Rye’ – Khashoggi (Adam Stong) and ‘These Are The Days’ – Buddy (Michael McKell).
There was plenty of humour, we laughed many times and the use of lyrical content throughout worked a treat and the older you are the more you recognised! Massive age range in the audience and although a couple of rude but funny jokes, I don’t remember any swearing. They were not trying to be rude/crass for the sake of it – a great family show. We were clapping and singing and the show ended with several strong and powerful performances, we didn’t want it to end.
Costumes were imaginative and fun and I now want to be invited to a fancy-dress party so I can re-create the outfits. Simple yet affective stage furniture – the use of a big background digital screen that spread onto the side columns for quick and easy scene changes.
What I also enjoyed was the was a decent length. No chance of being short changed on value by a quick show. Stuffed with Queen songs, you couldn’t help but be inspired. Even though the character chemistry was lacking a little, it did stir up those emotions for the freedom of rock! There was limited dancing, this allows more focus on the singing which in reality was the right decision….THESE are Queen songs and you don’t want to mess them up with an overcomplicated dance routine!
This might just be a musical I want to see more than once!
Photo credit John Persson
This review first appeared on GrapevineLIVE
The Regent Theatre