What: We Will Rock You – The Musical
Where: Regent Theatre, Melbourne
For more information and tickets, go to: wewillrockyou.com.au
Here’s my tip if you’re planning on seeing WWRY – go to the theatre two hours before the show, put your name in the ballot, sit around and wait for half an hour, and If your name is drawn, you can get a ticket (max of 2 per person) for $35 (averaging RRP over $100 – depending on the day and time, of course. Half tix go for around $58, I believe. And online deals are around $80 – so it’s your best option if you’re on a budget)
Anyway, I’m quite torn by WWRY. I liked it a lot, but I also feel there was a lot of misses – but that’s in the nature of the musical itself, and isn’t a reflection on this production at all. And while I laughed – a lot (Brian Mannix as Buddy provided a lot of the comedic relief), I will never forget “vid-day-o tape-y” in my life.
My favourite was Thern Reynolds as Brit. I also thought Jaz Flowers as Oz did an amazing job – especially during the ballad No One But You – such a beautiful moment in an otherwise over-the-top show. I also thought Simon Russell (Khagshoggi), Casey Donovan (Killer Queen) and Erin Clare (Scaramouche) all shined in their roles. And while Gareth Keegan can’t compare to the genius of Freddie Mercury, he does a good job as Galielo. There are so many different accents in this show that I thought it would be jarring – but honestly, you don’t even barely notice.
I would have liked to have seen more of the digital world. You don’t really get a great sense of what life is like because we are shown so little. At the beginning, I thought it was very reminiscent of the beginning of Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey in the way the characters dressed. If they ever turn WWRY into a movie, having more of the world would be beneficial – while not necessary in the musical, as being close to three hours already, I can understand why this is so briefly shown.
My other criticism is that it was obvious that the story was written around the songs – and not the other way around. Often the lyrics don’t support the story at all – or rather, if the musical had come second, a better song that helped the story unfold would more likely have been written. But with this being a musical with songs by Queen, I understand they are limited by their options. So, like, for example, when the Killer Queen sings Fat Bottom Girls, there is really no reason for her to be singing at all because the song doesn’t enhance the plot in any way.
WWRY is not about the story – it’s more about the music. It’s a Queen soundtrack with a thinly-based plot attached around it. And while it is incredibly funny, if you take out the story and have the characters just sing the songs on their own, it would work just as well.
I wasn’t raised on the music of Queen, so I don’t have that attachment to it – but I spent a lot of the time going “I didn’t know they sang that song!” etc. But even so, it’s hard not to find yourself bopping and singing along to the music. It’s infectious. It’s contagious. You want to get up and dance in the aisles.
The strongest message of WWRY is to put away your phones and live in the moment – and so it’s nice to sit in the theatre where phones are not allowed to be looked at and forget about the world for a couple of hours. Of course, once interval hit, it was hard to not find a person who wasn’t looking down staring at their phones – but hey, such is life.
Thumbs up for brilliant sets and costumes – especially when the Bohemians come into it. The Bohemians were like a breathe of fresh air. They bring so much colour and humour to the story – which I loved. And it’s more of a post-apocalyptic world, which I think we’re more accustomed to more so than a digital looking world.
While the story is kind of wonderfully tacky, the show itself is a fun time out for anybody. Whether you laugh at the mispronunciation of words, speaking in song lyrics, “scary bush” or any other of the wonderful character beats – if you don’t think too much into the story, you’re sure to enjoy it!
Oh – and make sure you stick around to the end for Bohemian Rhapsody!