We Will Rock You
Written by Queen and Ben Elton
Directed by Ben Elton
Presented by John Frost
Season: 10 July to currently August 16. Running time two hours 45 minutes including interval. Bookings: qpac.com.au or 136 246.
Queen. Where would the world be without this band to help celebrate all that is Rock? Most certainly in a darker place, that’s for sure. Now the juke-box musical We Will Rock You has come to Australia once more after more than a decade since it was last performed here. Performing in one of Brisbane’s most beloved venues, it is only fitting that such an “Australian” adaptation of the show be played there.
This show was indeed a spectacle. With a modestly sized cast, a script by director Ben Elton and of course, music by Queen, the show definitely promises what its name suggests. The audience were truly rocked. When entering the space at the Lyric theatre, the anticipation was quite palpable and the air buzzed with excitement.
People of all ages had gathered there that night to pay homage to one of the greatest bands of their era and you could tell everyone could hardly wait for the show to start. When it did, the feeling was electric.
The plot of the show was quite simple and generic in that it was much like a stock pantomime. There were good guys and bad guys with romance, bawdy jokes and evil cackles thrown into the mix. It followed the story of a young man named Galileo Figaro who is not like the others. He is a dreamer, who dreams strange visions and hears strange noises in his head. The others are stock, pastiches of young people who all follow the herd and don’t question.
It is set in a dystopian future ruled by the sinister Killer Queen where the Earth is now called iPlanet and the making of music is banned. When Galileo’s teacher finds out he is different, the authorities are called in and Galileo is sent to be re-conditioned.
Alongside him is a girl – Scaramouche – who is also different. The pair escape and find themselves in with the Bohemians, a resistance group who believe Galileo will deliver them from their nightmarish world and that music will be able to be made, freely, once more. Along the way, the audience was treated to a host of colourful characters, a simple yet engaging set design and a band that powered through the performance to deliver the audience the very best of Queen.
The Lyric theatre is an incredibly large space capable of hosting massive shows yet still retains an intimate vibe that draws the audience in. This was definitely drawn upon with this show. It still had that cosy, small theatre ambience that allowed the audience to really connect with the actors and characters.
When the show began, it really began. It was dramatic from start to finish with enough ham and cheese in the dialogue to make a sandwich. I loved it. Each and every one of the cast and ensemble members did an excellent job in their respective roles, from Casey Donovan as the dastardly Killer Queen – my personal favourite – to the veritable powerhouse Erin Clare as Scaramouche. Each of the cast members had powerful voices, which filled the auditorium with an incredible sound, especially during the most well-known numbers, Somebody to Love, Who Wants to Live Forever, We Are The Champions and of course, Bohemian Rhapsody. The show provided a melange of songs that fitted well with each scene and provided a chance for the audience to taps their toes and clap along. Unfortunately, where I was situated, no one sang along or got up and danced, but I’m sure some people did elsewhere.
You could also tell that the cast really, truly, loved and believed in what they were doing – spreading the love of Rock n Roll and for such a remarkable band as Queen. I did find that the acoustics muddled the sound at times, especially when there was the band, the ensemble and cast members performing at the same time, however it was most likely due to where I was sitting and not because of any fault of the sound operators.
We Will Rock You definitely guarantees a fun night out. Whether you are young or old this show has something for you and while there are a few adult themes it’s generally ok for kids to go along to as well.