It’s hardly ‘A night at the opera’ as Queen and Ben Elton’s musical We Will Rock You stomps into New Wimbledon Theatre. This jukebox musical features all the classic Queen songs you know and love intertwined with a quirky and futuristic storyline.
The show is set far in the future in a dystopian world where children choose to live their lives through social media. They forget what it means to live in the real world and how to make real friends that aren’t just followers online, while listening to new and upcoming autotuned state-controlled songs. However, the bohemians lead by ‘Cliff’ (Michael Mckell) slowly learn of the musical legends from the past and make it their mission to bring rock and roll back into the world.
This show falls into the trap that many juke box musicals follow, with a story that flows throughout the show and then abruptly ends 15 minutes before the end turning into a concert. This works well if the target audience is seeing the show to hear the songs but can become a downside if the audience are trying to follow a storyline. However, the there are some lovely comedic moments dotted though the show with lots of references for the audience to pick up on
The lighting designers Rob Sinclair and Luke Rolls designed a rock and roll themed rig with multiple lights on the same bar and LED batons inside the set, this worked well alongside the genre of music performed throughout the show and allowed creativity when using different colours to portray different emotions within the songs.
What is a show without its cast? This cast did not disappoint with a huge ensemble. The two leads ‘Galileo’ (Ian Mcintosh) and ‘Scaramouche’ (Elena Skye) gave amazing performances both physically and vocally with great chemistry alongside each other and towards ‘Cliff’ (Michael Mckell) who guided them throughout the show to their destiny. Killer Queen (Jenny O’Leary) has a powerful voice that blew away the audience after every song she performed, a few crowd favourites were Fat Bottomed Girls and Don’t Stop Me Now, which received a huge round of applause.
The set for this production is created by Tim Blazdell, he has created a set that is well suited for the style of the show, with a few tricks up its sleeve here and there. Masking the back of the stage is a large video wall which is used heavily throughout, thought I felt that the audio-visual elements could have been updated as the tour has continued over time, as the virtual caricatures and other video elements felt dated and in need of updated content.
Overall if you are looking for a show to scratch that itch for some Queen this is the show for you, with all if the hits from the iconic band that holds nothing back with amazing sound, visuals and a large cast to belt those classics.
We Will Rock You continues in Wimbledon until 4th June, https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/we-will-rock-you/new-wimbledon-theatre/
Reviewer: Lewis Downham
Reviewed: 30th May 2022
North West End UK Rating: ★★★