by Samantha Taylor
In the future, around 300 years from now, globalisation has conquered on a planet that was once called Earth. Real music is dead and everyone is identical. An army of clones who wear the same outfits, have the same hairstyles, like the same films, and think exactly the same things inhabit the place that was once free. But what if you don’t want to be like all the rest?
Welcome to the world of We Will Rock You: a smash-hit rock and roll musical based on the songs of the almighty Queen. The name isn’t just a title, it’s a promise. And a promise well kept.
Bursting onto the stage of the Edinburgh Playhouse on a chilly post-winter evening, the cast of the West End sensation look sure to warm-up the crowd quicker than you can say “Bohemian”.
Before the beginning of the play, the announcer declares that a few of the night’s cast members will not be on stage and will instead be replaced by their under-studies. This news doesn’t hinder the spirits of the crowd; they’ve come to here to be entertained and nothing could put them down.
Immediately captivating the audience, a massive screen lights up above the stage and begins rolling through a brief history of music and introduces tonight’s story. The discovery of the Beatles, the cancelling of Top of the Pops and the day that ‘Simon Cowell from hell’ ruined music are just some of the legends that flash before your eyes before being told of ‘Radio One’s last broadcast of non-computer generated music’ and the day that globalisation became complete.
The screen fades to stars and setting the scene is the ensemble, a group depicting the world’s race of genetic copies: the ‘Ga Ga girls’ and the boys from the ‘Boy Zone’. They immediately launch into the classic ‘Radio Ga Ga’ presenting Planet Mall in their very own Ga Ga World.
We’re introduced to the character of Galileo, who tonight is played by Patrick George. He is a dreamer, a ‘poor boy from a poor family’ and he sees song lyrics and images from the past in his head. Legend has it that young Galileo, along with his ‘chick’ Scaramouche will be the ones to save the world from this dystopian way of life.
They embark upon a perilous but playful journey, outrunning the dreaded Ga Ga cops and their Killer Queen, and making friends with the rebellious group of Bohemians who believe that somewhere, buried on Planet Mall, is the mighty axe, an instrument of a great and hairy guitar god. Together they seek the prize which will revive rock and roll.
This is a show that would appeal to rock fans and musical goers alike. The perfect combination of Queen’s greatest hits and the captivating storyline means it’s impossible to be disappointed. From ‘I Want to Break Free’ to the finale with the title song ‘We Will Rock You’, you can’t help but tap your toes or nod your head. Guaranteed by the end you’ll be on your feet dancing.
The comical but compelling characters made the show. Patrick George, who was standing in for Michael Salvon, created a unique and lovable character in Galileo. His singing voice was something to be admired and his relationship with on-stage love Scaramouche, played by Sarah French-Ellis, was flawlessly authentic.
The part of Britney Spears, which was played by Wayne A. Robinson, was the highlight of the evening. He perfectly entwined humour with heroism and it became impossible not to fall in love with him.
Staying in the background but helping to make the show a success was the band. They played a note-perfect set which rocked the background of the singers’ superb voices, making the walls vibrate and beating straight into your heart.
The musical, written by English comedian and author Ben Elton and Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor, certainly did not disappoint. The tongue-in-cheek story and the numerous Queen songs left the audience in wonder and begging for more.
Unsurprisingly, it has gained standing ovations every evening and this wasn’t any different. Walking back into the cold night air after the last note of the Bohemian Rhapsody, you couldn’t help but keep the warmth of what you’ve just seen: something special.