As you’ll have gathered from the title, I have just spent the evening at the Bristol Hippodrome watching the cast of We Will Rock You perform to a packed house. I don’t think there was a spare seat in the house, the ages of the audience ranged from about 8 to 80 and by the end of the evening everyone of them – including me - were on their feet.
The show is based around some of the best known and loved songs of Queen interwoven with a clever and witty story line by Ben Elton. Directed by Ben Elton and with the music directed by Brian May you know you are going to be in for a superb production – and you would not be disappointed.
The story takes place sometime in the future when the world has become sanitized, everyone has to be the same, think the same, dress the same and act the same. Earth is now known as Planet Mall and all live music, songs and instruments have been banned. All is ruled by the tyrannical “Killer Queen” admirably played by Ashley J Russell and her Chief of Police, Kashoggi played by Earl Carpenter.
There are however a group of rebels called “The Bohemians” (beginning to see some links?) led by Britney and Meat very well played by Leon Lopez and Jenny Douglas. They meet up with a dreamer called Galileo superbly played by Noel Sullivan and his “chick” Scaramouche played by Amanda Coutts. After various adventures they find Pop - played by Ian Reddington – a librarian who is trying to rediscover the lost music. From this point, the story heads to the – one would have to say – fairly predictable climax.
The impressive set with its huge video screens bearing computer-animated scenes and clever use of back projection conjure up a colourful vision of the future. The lighting is spectacular throughout the whole show and plays a big part in generating the excitement of the evening.
The music is awesome, and all the soloists and the ensembles are to be congratulated on their vocal prowess – how they manage to keep the volume and energy levels so high for the whole of one evening let alone the run of the show is beyond me. I am exhausted just watching and listening to them. The dancing – wonderfully choreographed by Arlene Phillips - is phenomenal – at times there is so much happening on the stage that you don’t quite know where to look. The whole spectacle throughout the show is unsurpassed.
On press night at least, we were treated by an enormous surprise, and a very very special person made a guest appearance – my lips are sealed just in case it happens again…
All I can say is that I defy anyone to see this show and not to come away with the most tremendous feeling of energy and hope for the future. Of course you’ll find that the songs will continue to go round and round in your head and you could find that the music will “Break Free” at any moment. This is a wonderful evening’s entertainment. If you can still get tickets go and see it.