2031. Musical instruments have been outlawed and the dystopian virtual world conquered by the malevolent Globalsoft. The Killer Queen reigns. A group of outlaw Bohemians await The Dreamer, a prophet who will bring down her evil empire and restore rock to the land.
Ben Elton’s book tenuously stretches Queen’s greatest hits across a contradictory, satirically short-sighted and pseudo-mythical plot, muffling the stamp-stamp-clap of We Will Rock You as a good example of the jukebox musical. In exposition and style, it is best enjoyed as a post-festive sorbet, easing theatre from pantomime fairytales into the new year with just a touch of slapstick.
Despite these gripes, We Will Rock You is genuinely entertaining. Its staging is worthy of a stadium rock tour, cranking the music up to maximum volume and dazzling its audience in a flood of bright lights. With such technical prowess behind it, the talented cast could sing ThreeBlind Mice and sound as commanding as the greats themselves and a front row seat at We Will Rock You could be as empowering as the front row Wembley.
As Lacanic cockney sparrow Scaramouche, Amanda Coutts diffuses the script’s corniness with performances of songs so powerful that they could crack the plaster on the theatre’s ceiling. As fellow free-spirit, Noel Sullivan’s Galileo Figaro is the ideal lead singer, vocally smooth and visually sweet. Jenny Douglas has breezed from Over the Rainbow to Beyond the Thunderdome and Jonathan Wilkes’s henchman Khashoggi sings and snarls deliciously.
With its amplification of familiar and loved songs, its endearing cast and high production values, it could prove difficult not to dance with your vacuum cleaner after this Night at the Opera.