We Will Rock You – The Musical is currently bringing all corners of North America the iconic music of Queen. The recent stop at Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre brought the memories of Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor to the audiences.
Since 2002 We Will Rock You has been rocking theatre fans with its quirky, futuristic story and foot stomping rock anthems. All the classic fan favourites are worked into the jukebox musical; Radio Ga Ga, I Want To Break Free, Under Pressure, Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Fat Bottomed Girls, We Will Rock You, Bohemian Rhapsody and many more.
The book, written by comedian/author Ben Elton, is set in a distant future when live music, instruments and even free-thought are banned. With everyone living under the program of a global tech giant, a small band of Bohemians follow a legend and the prophecy that one last legendary instrument hidden by a shining rock star.
While the music of We Will Rock You is timeless, the book feels a little bit dated. Originally written at the start of the century in the days of the dotcom crash. While it is a story that should be timeless, it feels like a slightly out-of-date view of the perils of online culture. Twenty years on, the internet dystopia feels as unlikely as Y2K. There have been updates to the dialogue, incorporating pop-culture references from the last decades, but they only help draw attention to the cultural divide. The overall storyline still stands up but the dialogue could use a revamp, and perhaps tightening up to help lift the pace of the musical.
In spite of the story, the real star of the show is the music. In this production, from Annerin Theatricals, the live band is excellent and the many of the performers are absolute stand-outs. Trevor Coll as lead Galileo Figaro has a powerful voice and leads the show with passionate performances. Singing alongside, leading lady Keri Kelly as Scaramouche balances belting her own songs and harmonizing with Coll. Killer Queen is played as a broad, bold diva by Krystle Chance. Some of the other secondary characters could have been consolidated to bring us more of charismatic Kevin Doe’s Buddy, one of the Bohemians helping Galileo and Scaramouche search for the legend.
We Will Rock You delivers enough on the music, and memories, to overlook the quirks of the story and offer a fun afternoon or evening at The Theatre.
The North American tour of We Will Rock You continues throughout Canada into mid-February.