Although originally premiered in 2002 some 9 years ago this jukebox musical created as a fusion of the music of rock legends Queen and the book written by comedian and author Ben Elton does not seem to date in anyway. In fact the opening night in Edinburgh, some twenty years after the death of Freddie Mercury seems as up to date as up to date as the daily newspaper.
Set sometime in the future on the Planet Mall, once known as Earth, where the whole planet is under the control of Globalsoft and live music has been banned and replaced with auto tuned digital recordings that are all under the control of the Killer Queen, played by Ashley J Russell and he evil second in command Commander Khashoggi, Rhydian Roberts.
Old Timer Pop, former Corrie & Eastenders favourite Ian Reddington opens proceedings setting the scene prior to the extravaganza of high tech high energy production really kicks into life.
The underground Bohemians, the rebels who want ‘real music’ are led by Britney Spears, Leon Lopez, and Meat, local girl Jenny Douglas as they seek the Dreamer, the shining light to lead them and could it be that Galilleo, Noel Sullivan, and feisty ‘rock chick’ girlfriend Scaramouche, Amanda Coutts, are they saviours they are looking for?
The ensemble cast playing Gaga girls, Bohemians, Yuppies are colourfully attired and perform with verve and style giving a solid support structure to the ‘names’ and their dance routines are tight and well staged.
The set is as always quite hi-tec and works well, and of course the lighting plot and LCD graphics enhance what is already a great production.
But of course for most it is the music that is king, or should that be queen? The band of eight under, the leadership of Jim Henson is the real structure that the show hangs on, and they are obviously first class. It was also pleasing to see them coming forward to collect much merited applause, something that doesn’t happen enough in my opinion.
All the vocals are very good but for me the stand-out performance came from Jenny Douglas as Meat. This youngster proved she could sing in TV’s ‘Over The Rainbow’ and in what is her theatre debut on this tour her potential is being realised. There is not much of her in stature, but my goodness most of it must be talent and charisma.
When this musical was initially staged it got somewhat panned by the critics but it has obviously been taken to the publics heart as it is probably even more popular today as it was back then. I know ticket sales, even in these austere times are doing well for the Edinburgh run, but if you are quick you may still be lucky. Check out either the WWRY website http://www.wewillrockyou.co.uk or the Edinburgh Playhouse site http://www.edinburghplayhouse.org.uk for details. The show runs there until 7 January 2012
Reviewed by Geoff