Lets jump 300 years and call Earth, Planet Mall and imagine it is controlled by the Globalsoft Corporation. On planet Mall all musical instruments are banned and rock music is a thing of the past. But somewhere on the planet instruments still exist and it is believed that someone will come and show the way to rediscovering music one day. Of course we know they will as if they did not there would be little point in us coming to a musical, would there?
At the heart of We Will Rock You is, of course, Queens music and no one can take that away, it is what the audience come for and they get it delivered in bucketfuls. Twenty four songs are there, brilliantly executed by a young cast who are drilled to perfection by Arlene Phillips choreography.
The revelation in casting is Jonathan Wilkes , he steps out of character playing the all too smug Khashoggi, chief of police. Brenda Edwards, known to us via the X-Factor is brilliant as the Killer Queen, evil ruler of Planet Mall. She shows that she has comic timing and excellent acting abilities to add to the already well known amazing singing voice .
Kevin Kennedy, best known to us through Coronation Street, really does not have too much to do, after a brief scene in the opening minutes he does not return until the latter half of Act 2
All the other young leads are as excellently cast with Georgina Hagen as Meat and Wayne A Robinson , Britney standing out. The singing voices of Sarah French-Ellis as Scaramouche, and Alex Gaumond as Galileo are nothing short of superb . The pair have that extra something that is often all too sadly missing in touring productions, a real chemistry between them which allows you to believe in their story and what happens to them.
Basically it is impossible to fault the cast and while accepting Brenda Edwards is only known to us because of X Factor, with a talented cast such as this, I see no reason for those types of shows. We had a stage full of people with amazing voices , who could sing and dance and all deserve to be household names.
Ben Elton, who wrote the musical and directs the tour gives us plenty of laughs during the show and overall it is in a different class to most of the productions currently trying to cash in on an artist’s music by building any story around the songs. Production designer Mark Fisher presents us with a futuristic and technologically brilliant set which uses video and large scale set pieces. While designer Tim Goodchild presents costumes that are out of this world, or should that be ahead of their time, but maybe right for 300 years hence, none of us will ever know the truth, but they fit the bill exactly.
We Will Rock You is a brilliant show, which captures the imagination and takes audience participation to a new height, a treat for Queen fans as well as those who enjoy a good musical and maybe not as familiar with the songs as some of the audience. On opening night Brian May joined the cast at the finale, along with Ben Elton, but they made it very clear it was a one off performance and they would not be appearing during the rest of the run. While it was a great way to end the opening night, do not be concerned that May will not be there as this cast do not need any help, they deliver first class high quality entertainment in a not to be missed production.