Review: Minds blown as We Will Rock You thunders into Opera House
January blues are hard to shift in that post-Christmas period, the lull, drudgery of routine, the weather - trapped in some sort of brain dead haze difficult to escape.
In a way it could appear odd in order to find some ‘lift’ an almost capacity crowd at Blackpool Opera House came together to watch the story of young hopefuls lost in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic nation where people have become so conditioned by the digital age their souls have all but evaporated and art of music has been lost in the passage of time, most tragically rock and roll.
And yet the stage and the theatre was well and truly brought back to life in Ben Elton’s revived state-of-the-art production of We Will Rock You where on the first night of six in the resort, minds were quite literally blown.
Promising to deliver the rock, spirit and spectacle of one of the pioneering bands of all time Queen in a blended landscape of Mad Max meet Hunger Games thanks to giant screens of digital trickery - this systematic reboot is slick, sharp, engaging and funny.
It’s typical musical theatre sentimentality but rock star Bowie once touched on the alien life form the internet would one day create. Some critics found Elton's concept a little befuddling, one 'saccharine.'
But in spreading a message of sorts, no band’s body of work is more befitting to make the cross-over for the genre in the present day, with 24 from the songbook in the show encompassing rock, opera, classical, blues, metal, pop, funk and dance.
A ‘Bible’ of progressive rock, recognised by the 'Bohemians' for its importance and adored for generations to come.
The electric vocals from all the primary musical-theatre trained cast and exceptional live band ensure the anthems are felt to great effect. There are some incredible harmonies and stand-out numbers aplenty - fans will not be disappointed.
Intense silences are broken by roars of the audience, all cleverly manipulated to help build a sense of the hold, artistry and skill of the the ultimate showman that was the irreplaceable Freddie Mercury.
Deserved mention for Michael McKell in the role of Buddy taking up a futuristic, washed up rocker embodying a bizarre but entertaining Keith Richard Mick Jagger rolled into one.
Ian McKintosh and Elena Skye playing Galileo and Scaramouche are both excellent.
WWRY does not compensate for the stadium-scale reach this extraordinary band held, younger counterparts can only dream for the chance to have witnessed that but this musical has reached a new milestone, defied the critics and is sure to give plenty more rock and roll on a 2020 tour.
Long live Queen.
cast: Michael McKell Buddy, Ian McIntosh Galileo, Elena Skye Scaramouche, Adam Strong Khashoggi, Jenny O’Leary Killer Queen Amy Di Bartolomeo Oz and David Michael Johnson Brit