Stockton Globe – until Saturday 12 June 2022
Following its hugely successful run at London’s Dominion Theatre and after numerous successful world wide tours. We Will Rock You returns in a re-imagined production. Purists be warned, it still has all the hits of Queen and it’s still scripted by Ben Elton, but there have been script tweaks and the addition of one or two extra songs.
The storyline is set on the futuristic i-planet, which was formerly known as Earth. All the people are programmed to look, think and dress the same. The planet and everything in it is controlled by the giant corporation Global Soft. Musical instruments are banned and only computer simulated “music” is allowed by Global Soft. But there are rebels searching for their “Dreamer” who will help to restore live music and free thought.
The Dreamer is social outcast, Galileo (Ian McIntosh) and his rebellious and sarcastic girlfriend Scaramouche (Elena Skye). They are pursued by Khashoggi (Adam Strong) the Chief of the Police, who reports directly to the Killer Queen herself (Jenny O’Leary). But the Bohemians find Galileo, leading him and Scaramouche to a place of safety at their Rebel HQ. Brit (David Michael Johnson), his chick Meat (Martina Ciabatti Mennell) and Cliff (Micheal McKell) tell them of the time before with their references to live music, posters, magazines and information from the archives. Cliff (who was previously Pop at the Dominion) holds a “vi-day-o” which features the voices of the freedom fighters Queen.
Queen fans won’t be disappointed by hearing the band’s hits performed live and the futuristic stage set (Tim Blazdell) and video animations and graphics (Stufish Entertainment Architects) were surprisingly stunning and at times hypnotic.
The live band (Zach Flis, Matt Herbert, Meg Cave, James Barber, Simon Croft, Neil Murray and Dave Cotterell) at the back of the set, play the songs of Queen with the reverence the music deserves and sometimes it’s difficult not to sing and clap along
The costumes (Kentaur) have been updated and the script features more up to date acts and cultural references – including covid.
O’Leary shines as the villainous Killer Queen stunning with her killer vocals. I loved her outfits, my favourite being worn during Don’t Stop Me Now, which is now sung in its entirety. Adam Strong is a tad more menacing than previous incarnations and his suit (from M&S) is much better for his rank than the one worn in the west end.
I have seen a number of Galileo’s and Scaramouche in my time (I’ve seen it more than 50 times) so I know a good one when I see one. Skye’s vocals shine from the beginning with her first note of Somebody to Love. But McIntosh, fabulous as he is, finally gets his shining moment towards the end with the titular We Will Rock You and Bohemian Rhapsody. Although he sings everything excellently
I know We Will Rock You is a bit of a marmite musical, you either love it or hate it. I love it and even with the changes I was still happy at the end, when I was finally allowed to sing along. It was fully deserving of its standing ovation at the gloriously restored Globe Theatre in Stockton