Review of We Will Rock You at Palace Theatre Manchester.
We Will Rock You opened last night at the Palace Theatre Manchester and we were lucky enough to be invited along to experience the musical phenomenon for ourselves. Read to find out what we thought.
Over the last eighteen years, more than sixteen million theatregoers have been well and truly rocked by this huge budget musical by Queen and Ben Elton. Having toured nineteen countries the show is now back here in Manchester and at the Palace Theatre until Saturday 8th February.
We Will Rock You paints the picture of a globalized future where musical instruments have been banished and a minority of rock rebels (the Bohemians) battle against the all powerful ‘Globalsoft’ company fighting for the rebirth of the age of rock!
To be totally honest, I’d never really given much thought to the music of Queen. I had been aware of hearing some of their songs growing up but it was only having seen the Bohemian Rhapsody movie a couple of years ago that I realised how much of their music I knew! I do enjoy the atmosphere of musicals and so I was eager to discover what We Will Rock You would deliver and I was certainly not disappointed.
The show begins with the ‘Ga Ga Kids’ who are the most recent graduates of the ‘Ga Ga Academy’ and we were treated to a spectacular and energetic performance of ‘Radio Ga Ga’ which had the audience singing along and clapping their hands before we were introduced to a handsome ‘Galileo’ played by Ian McIntosh and a powerful ‘Scaramouche’ brought to life by Elena Skye.
It wasn’t long before the devious ‘Killer Queen’ was brought to life magnificently by Jenny O’Leary along with Adam Strong playing ‘Khashoggi’. The Killer Queen’s performance of ‘Play the Game’ was fierce and spectacular although it was ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ which had us all laughing along thanks to Ben Elton’s fantastic writing.
Also supporting we had Michael McKell as ‘Buddy’, Amy Di Bartolomeo as ‘Oz and David Michael Johnson as ‘Brit’. As each of the characters brought the story to life with their renditions of our Queen favourites I was impressed by the strength and quality of their performances and there was a real passion in their voices.
By the end of the first half I don’t think I was alone in feeling blown away by the elaborate and awe inspiring special effects and staging. As well as all of the favourites like ‘Under Pressure’ and ‘Somebody to Love’ I had been pleasantly surprised to hear some other hits that until then I hadn’t realised were Queen hits!
Act Two kicked off with the Ga Ga Kids performing ‘One Vision’. The show boasted a very strong and versatile ensemble cast and the choreography was spot on in showing the audience what life is like three hundred years in the future. The hits kept coming thick and fast and was perfectly interspersed with comedy writing executed perfectly – particularly by Buddy!
As with any great musical, the end came around far too quickly and Galileo had everyone on their feet belting out ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘We Are The Champions’. I genuinely felt like I was standing in Wembley stadium rather than in the one hundred and thirty year old Palace Theatre. Before I knew it the entire cast were back on stage giving a spectacular encore of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ with everybody still on their feet before the curtain finally fell for one last time.
We Will Rock You is a must see regardless of whether you are a Queen fan, a rock fan, a musical fan or a theatre fan. This show has something for everyone and packed a real punch.
We Will Rock You is running at the Palace Theatre Manchester until Saturday 8th February.