Queen and Ben Elton’s We Will Rock You originally fist-pumped and head-banged its way onto the West End in 2002. Quickly winning favor with audiences, the jukebox musical featuring 24 of Queen’s best-loved hits went on to become the longest-running musical at the Dominion Theatre closing in 2014. Since then multiple international and touring productions have followed and the award-winning show has been performed in six of the world’s continents. Now, 21 years since it all began… the world’s favorite rock theatrical returns home. Playing the London Coliseum for a limited 12-week season, London audiences can once again rock out to hits including We Are The Champions, Bohemian Rhapsody, Radio Ga Ga, Don’t Stop Me Now and We Will Rock You in a production that is guaranteed to blow your mind!
In a world where creativity is stifled and conformity is king, We Will Rock You tells the story of Galileo and Scaramouche, two rebellious souls who dare to defy the status quo. As they navigate a dystopian society dominated by a soulless corporation, Globalsoft, they embark on a quest to discover the lost art of Rock and Roll. They journey through a post-apocalyptic landscape, encountering flamboyant rebels, battling against robotic enforcers and ultimately unleashing the power of Queen’s iconic music to ignite a revolution that will rock the foundations of their world!
As the Rebel Leader Pop, Ben Elton has a lot of fun. From the opening dialogue to his nostalgic rendition of These Are the Days of Our Lives, it’s such a treat to see Elton in his iconic show and he looks to be having the time of his life. As the human/computer game hybrid Killer Queen, Brenda Edwards serves a fierce performance throughout. Easily tackling the iconic Killer Queen riffs, Edwards enjoys her time onstage playing the villain of the piece and her It’s A Kind Of Magic and The Show Must Go On are highlights. West End darling, Lee Mead is every bit the dastardly lap dog to Killer Queen in Commander Khashoggi. Seven Seas of Rhye is Khashoggi’s only solo song and Mead relishes every moment of this difficult number with his strong baritone voice. Ian Mcintosh shines as Galileo Figaro. Returning to the role, Mcintosh easily handles Galileo’s massive vocal range soaring like a true rock god from his first number I Want To Break Free to leading a triumphant rendition of We Are The Champions towards the end. As Scaramouche, Elena Skye played the sarcastic rebel to perfection. Skye’s vocal prowess wowed throughout and her Scaramouche was a combination of sassy one-liners and vulnerability with her Somebody To Love an early favorite. As Brit, Adrian Hansel enjoyed his turn as the brawny muscle-bound bohemian while impressing the audience with his rendition of Head Long and Crazy Little Thing Called Love during the first act. Christine Allado’s Meat Loaf was a vocal stand out and her beautiful solo No-One but You (Only the Good Die Young) was the best I’ve heard the song sung in the shows 21 year history.
For this production, author and director Ben Elton has revamped his script. Making the show more self-referential, telling the overall legend of We Will Rock You. He’s updated current pop culture references and used more appropriate language in some scenes showing the show has grown with society and its audience. While the original production had the iconic rising moving gangway during It’s A Kind Of Magic, audiences won’t miss it as Stufish Entertainment Architects muti-leveled set design incorporates impressive moving LCD screens showing a combination of scenic designs from the original production and new videos specific to this production that punctuate the futuristic setting of the show perfectly. Much like a rock concert, Luke Rolls & Rob Sinclair For 1826 Studio’s light design is powerful and encompasses the large coliseum space which allows the audience to be immersed that much more in the show. Much like a rock concert, Rory Madden’s sound design was punchy but not overpowering. At times however, dialogue and lyrics were lost due to the mix with the band and I wished more care had been taken to allow the subtleties of the cast’s vocals a moment to shine rather than only allowing the audience to hear the top end, belty, brassy tones and notes of the score.
With many of the cast appearing in earlier productions of the show, this homecoming production of We Will Rock You is every bit the spectacle. With plenty of surprises (including a cameo from a much-loved Dominion Theatre statue), fans of the show will love seeing it back in the West End where it belongs. If you’re a Champion or a Fat Bottomed Girl who Wants It All, don’t be Under Pressure, run Headlong past the Seven Seas of Rhye and into the London Coliseum to see We Will Rock You… it’s a Kind of Magic!
Reviewed by Stuart James