We Will Rock You, Review
*** 3 Stars
“ The music of Queen is the winner in this new production!”
The west end smash hit, that opened at the Dominion Theatre in 2002 and went on to enjoy a 12 year run, before closing is back, touring the UK in a brand new production that does deliver on the music but sadly misses the mark a little on the overall product.
Written by Ben Elton and featuring 24 hits of the might gods of Rock “Queen” this was always a tongue in cheek show telling the story of a group of Bohemians who struggle to restore the free exchange of thought, fashion, and live music in a distant future where everyone dresses, thinks and acts the same. Musical instruments and composers are forbidden, and rock music is all but unknown.
This 2019 version of the show sees a change to Elton’s book with the characters of “Pop”, “Meat” and “Macca” all dropped and replaced with “Buddy”, “Oz” and Macca Disappearing completely. This isn’t new to the show as there have been several changes to the script over the years.
Performance wise across the board, they are excellent with Ian McIntosh as “Galileo” really showcasing his rock vocals and excellent timing especially opposite Elena Skye as an earthy “Scaramouche”. In the role of “Buddy”, which s clearly just the “Pop” character given new life is Michael McKell who delivers a Mick Jagger soaked comedy creation, he is underused in act 1 but really gets great stage time in act 2 especially when he covering for technicians appearing on stage!
Where this production falls down is in the setting, set design from Stufish entertainment sees giant video screens brought to the extreme with moving decks and blocks used. However, its clear there is still work needed as more than once technicians could be seen securing the set at various points. Towards the end of the second act to see stage crew take to the stage to haul a motor bike off whilst “pop” covers for them says a lot. Also, the set hasn’t been properly masked so seeing into wings is fairly easy.
Director Cornelius Baltus does deliver though by putting the music of queen at the heart of the show, this production does still retain all the charm of the original. The actual video that’s used through out the show is excellent and gives an even more futuristic dimension. Added to Rob Sinclair and Douglas Green fulsome lighting design which goes from delicate to full out Wembley stadium rock concert motif with ease, this is show that aims big.
Ultimately, it’s the music of queen that’s the winner in this new production and if they can master the set then a real treat for a new generation is with in its grasps. For the moment We Will Rock you reminds you of how the show transcended the musical theatre and enriched the legacy of Queen and makes this well worth the ticket price! So, head to the Playhouse!
Queen and Phil McIntyre Entertainment Present, “We Will Rock You”, Playhouse Theatre Edinburgh, Runs until Saturday 12th October, UK Tour Continues for tickets go to: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/we-will-rock-you/edinburgh-playhouse/