"We will rock you" musical
a review

The world premiere of the musical took place on May 14th, 2002.
"We will rock you" is  produced by Hollywood star Robert deNiro, and it´s played at London´s Dominon Theatre.
The Dominion Theatre is exactly the same place, where Freddie Mercury performed together with Cliff Richard live on stage for their musical presentation "Time" in the 80s.

The story is the weakest point of the musical:
Galileo (Tony Vincent) lives in the future - at around the year 2300.
He is a music freak, but in the world of the future listening to music isn´t fun anymore as music instruments are banned.
Everybody just listens to "Radio Ga Ga"
It´s the time of  artificial girl- and boy- bands and songs are only produced at the computer.
In the underground the Bohemians are wating for the dreamer: Galileo!
He should save the (music) world , as music was still music, and as a rock band called Queen was still alive.

Galileo always dreams of long lost rock lyrics - without knowing what to do with them.
He gets to know from the Bohemians that these lyrics are from the golden age of the Rhapsody, as long haired guitarists still wrote music, which nobody understood but them.
Together with his girlfriend Scaramouche (Hannah Jane Fox) he is on the search of old rock artefacts, but the Ga-Ga-Cops try to find him to bring him to the evil Killer Queen (Sharon D.Clarke).

___
left picture: Tony Vincent (Galileo) and Hannah Jane Fox (Scaramouche)
right picture: Sharon D Clarke (Killer Queen) and Alexander Hanson (Khashoggi)
 

In the end he finds the last e-guitar of the world at the ruins of the Wembley Stadium:
Brian May´s Red Special.
While Scaramouche plays on it and Galileo sings towards it the world turns into good again.

The author of the musical, Ben Elton, manages to squeeze 30 Queen hits into this show. Some do fit perfectly into the storyplot and are very funny - others don´t fit in the plot so well, but are nice to hear nevertheless.

The musical is a very british one, so I guess it would be very diffilcult to be a success outside of the UK.
Once you get used to the weird story-plot the musical starts to make real  fun to watch.
Especially good are all the little remarks of lyrics and names of the pop and rock-world - which makes it to a good musical for all pop and rock-fans, especially Queen fans of course.
Unfortunately due to that it will be difficult ro reach the mass of the people (the mainstream) and the musical fans - and without them a long running time will be doubtful in my opinion.

Personally I was satisfied with the show and it was better than expected, although you have to admit that if you know the movie "Matrix" many similarities seem to be obvious.

Especially good are the voices of the whole cast.
Stunning and the absolute highligh of the show: Sharon D.Clarke as Killer Queen.

And of course it was good to see Spike Edney and Neil Murray as part of the live band!

Brian May was very involved into this musical as he is resposnsible for the vocal harmony arrangements and is music supervisor as well (together with Roger Taylor and Mike Dixon). He spent month after month working hard for this project.

Unfortunately -with just ONE exception- London´s press gave the musical very bad marks (two examples can be found at the end of this review):
 


Robert deNiro, Brian May, Roger Taylor
 

Brian May is optimistic nevertheless:
"The show brings new live into the songs and we hope that it will run for 20 years"
 

review (c) by Oliver Tamminga


Daily Express:

THE new Queen Musical WE WILL ROCK YOU, has had some of the worst reviews since that glorious musical Bernadette. I imagine Robert De Niro, one of its producers, will be in a terrifying mood. But the question is: will Queen fans love it? Unlike Mamma Mia, which weaved the songs of ABBA into a show that turned out to be enjoyably witty, this struck me as compilation-ism at its naffest. The story is the problem - or rather Ben Elton is the problem. He has invented a plot set 300 years in the future where Earth - Planet Mall - is a police state, live music is banned and the kids are repressed. Original, eh? Only computerised girl band pop is tolerated by the GlobalSoft Corporation - run by the Killer Queen (sassy Sharon D Clarke) and her henchman - to the disgust of two young rebels, one of whom hears lyrical fragments from the legendary Age of Rock in his head.

Galileo (Tony Vincent) and his punkette chick, Scaramouche (Hannah Jane Fox), try to save the world with the aid of a brain-dead biker hippy, played by Nigel Planer of course. They are forced to utter dialogue of pulverising awfulness (cheap gags and sermonising satire). No amount of money - and it was millions - spent on hi-tech lasers and virtual visuals can make up for the script. The Ga-Ga girl band, choreographed by Arlene Phillips, make frequent appearances and you wish they wouldn't.

The best thing about the show is the band which plays the hits live but unseen. It is led by Laurie Wisefield, late of Wishbone Ash, who brilliantly apes Brian May's guitar style at a billion decibels. But it is neither a decent rock gig (they bottle out of Bohemian Rhapsody) nor satisfying theatre. Only hard core Queen fans can save it from an early bath.


The Times:

Without Freddie this is nothing but theatre ga-ga
By Caitlin Moran
 
WHO doesnít miss Freddie Mercury? I miss Freddie Mercury. The remaining members of Queen miss Freddie Mercury. EMI Records certainly miss Freddie. We all, damn it, miss Freddie Mercury.
But there have not been many moments since his death where the world has missed Freddie Mercury more than on the
opening night of We Will Rock You.

This is Ben Eltonís attempt to turn the back catalogue of Queen into a musical. However, despite a cast of 25 and all the pyrotechnics and lasers you could shake a stick at, it still does not make up for the absence of one buck-toothed gay man with a handle-bar moustache.

His ghost constantly taunted us from the bar, where he undoubtedly would have spent the evening. He was Cathy, we were Heathcliff and the Dominion was the window he was tapping at.

So where did it all go wrong? Ben Elton: he co-wrote Blackadder, and that was funny. Queen: they have lots of great tunes. Surely this would make our rockiní world go round? Well, it is, maybe, an obvious point, but one that bears stating: Queenís songs were not written as part of an ongoing narrative structure. They were just a bunch of silly things that Freddie Mercury came up with at 4am when he was off his face.

They certainly werenít written about Ben Eltonís concern for how the whole world is currently being ruined by the twin evils of the Internet and boy bands.

In order to illustrate Eltonís point, we are taken forward to 2300, where rock music has been banned. This dystopia is run by a woman who looks like Chaka Khan and a man who looks like Gary Numan circa Cars. They spend all day singing Queen songs and watching cartoons on gigantic plasma screens.

How this is not a better world than the one that we currently live in is left unexplained.

However, a modishly scruffy misfit called Galileo Figaro and his girlfriend, Scaramouche, embark on a quest to bring the spirit of rockíníroll back to life by searching out a mythic guitar embedded in rock.

On the way, they join up with the Bohemians, who dream of finding their legendary Rhapsody, but are captured by the Ga-Ga police and are taken to the Seven Seas of Rye.

Of course, if youíre going to be this knowing ó and We Will Rock You is so knowing thereís even a cameo by the car from its West End rival Chitty Chitty Bang Bang ó then you really should go all the way.

While itís good that the Killer Queen, with her double-G cup behind, knowingly sings Fat Bottomed Girls On Bicycles, why not put her on a bicycle? Possibly one that is wired to a generator that is making the entire rockiní world go round.

Under Pressure is presented as a love duet between the sappy Galileo and the unlovably shouty Scaramouche, but how much better would it have been if they had performed it under a huge polystyrene 2000-tonne weight? And if only there had been a place for a pyschotic midget called Love . . .

Ultimately, for all its stunning looks ó the massive plasma-screens are killer-diller, and all the cast have good shoes ó We Will Rock You is just too straight. The script remains little more than two-minute blasts of knob gags and misplaced polemic between songs, and the musical numbers have nothing to do with the script.

Iím sure that Freddie would have bunked off halfway through to the Adelphi theatre, where the 40-year-old Chicago manages twice the balls and wit.