The posters talk a big game. You'll see the words 'guaranteed to blow your mind' plastered across buses and billboards, and that's one seriously big call these days. So, I decided to meet the challenge and put the Queen inspired musical to the test along with my very own Queen Cam, who is every bit the royal (for we certainly treat her like one). Now let me say right now, if the words 'Scaramouche', 'Fandango' or 'Radio Ga Ga' mean nothing to you - best to stop reading right now, because this review just isn't for you. However, if you're still on board, then read on as I review the production of 'We Will Rock You' at the Lyric Theatre.
It's Orwell for the new age. Set in an undisclosed year far in the future, we see a world named the iPlanet where technology rules, individualism is quashed and free thought is all but extinct, well almost. Only a very select few rebel against the oppressive power of the Killer Queen and the synthesised music of the Globalsoft Corporation. Piecing together the remnants of a long ago forgotten culture of rock and roll, the rebels await their dreamer, the one that will lead them to freedom and help them find the long sought after Bohemian Rhapsody.
Sounds a little trite, doesn't it? Well it most certainly started out that way as Queen Cam and I exchanged a worrisome glance. Beginning with a Star Wars-esque sequence as words flew across a screen detailing the futuristic world in which this musical extravaganza is set, the kitsch factor was rising at an alarming rate. This was compounded upon by the cringe-worthy 'lol' spewing 'Ga Ga Girls' and their encapsulation of what a future world might comprise (obviously satirising that of today) and we began to be gravely concerned at what we had gotten ourselves into.
However, soon the musical began to hit its stride - and hit it well. Not just a collection of all the songs we adore, the script is wickedly fun, jam-packed with so many references that you'll be hard pressed to think of more (with Queen Cam in stitches every time they pronounced their treasured video tape relic 'vi-day-o tappy'). They even have a real rock and roll legend, Brian Mannix, playing 'Buddy' and although he may not have had the vocal fortitude of the rest of the cast, his presence lends an authenticity that can't be fabricated.
This is built upon by the excellence of the central cast as their vocal expertise does justice to these beloved classics. Our Arthurian hero, Galileo Figaro, is played by the captivating Gareth Keegan, who encapsulated the young rocker to a tee. On the other hand, Erin Clare plays his antagonistic female counterpart, Scaramouche, and although at times she plays it on the caricature side, we forgive her due to her enthralling voice. Together these two create some decent chemistry on stage (even if it is a little high school). Other than this quibbling couple, the real stand out in the supporting cast was Jazz Flowers as Ozzie Osbourne. Arguably the best voice on stage, she brings boundless energy and had Queen Cam and I bopping along in tandem.
It's clear that the power of this production comes from the knowledge of these references, these songs, this entire genre. Without such a rock and roll education, it isn't as strong a musical as all those that we know and love. In fact, it doesn't have much substance beyond that at all. However, for those die hard fans, this musical is an answer to their prayers and as I count myself amongst them, I can confirm that Queen Cam and I had an absolute blast. It may be self-indulgent, but that is exactly the point of this light-hearted jaunt down rock nostalgia lane. If you love rock and roll and you're just out for a good night, we know you will get it here.