Dazzling screens projecting the galaxy with shooting stars and the feeling that something momentous is about to happen, greet you as you enter the Ipswich Regent Theatre, promising a glittering show of the music we all love and adore by Queen.
The immensely talented Ben Elton has recreated the incredibly popular show, with a return already promised for 2020, showcasing some of Queens best hits through an insta-selfie-no-instruments futuristic world where a group of Rock Rebels called the Bohemians fight for their freedom, and the right to express themselves through the music that reflects there individualism.
I thought I was in for a Queen music rollercoaster, showcasing some of their most popular songs sang as almost a tribute act with dancing and acting to boot. How wrong was I! As the show kicks off, you are introduced to the Globalsoft Company, a concept that took me a while to warm to, and which seemed a bizarre storyline to meld with the rock music of Queen. However, it didn’t take long for the star of the show to appear and keep my attention! Ian McIntosh was incredible as Galileo. Such an unbelievable voice that I questioned at times if he was miming to a backing track! He channelled Freddie as if he had painstakingly studied all mannerisms from his most famous live shows. It was amazing to witness. Elena Skye was equally talented, with her effortless and beautiful voice as Scaramouche, making them a team to be reckoned with.
I loved the rebels, and the celebration of being different in a world where the idea that creating the perfect selfie, or having the most ‘likes’ or followers was more important than being true to yourself and finding your own way in the world. The eclectic mix of costumes (I’ll be dusting off my fishnets and leathers this weekend!), sets and voices really brought this home, with even the Killer Queen, Jenny O’Leary oozing with rock style and poise, despite being the menacing and scary leader of the futuristic company. She was accompanied by Adam Strong as Khashoggi, her right-hand man. I found it more difficult to enjoy his performance, as his voice seemed too ‘put on’, and meant his songs were less confident compared with the other characters. He did, however, look the part, and added to the story as a whole.
One of the main reasons I struggled to enjoy the show, was a ‘technical issue’, which halted the performance in the first half (as it did the night before, on opening night) for a good 10 minutes. Up until this point, I could barely make out what they were singing, as the classic words of treasured songs were changed to fit the ‘new world’. There were also further issues throughout the performance where voices would randomly cut out whilst singing. At times, the changes in scenery and set stands were very clunky, and did not flow as you would expect. This happened more than I would have expected or liked for a show so well-renowned for being slick and well planned.
However, the second half of the show seemed more rehearsed and we got to witness the beautiful harmonies and touching tributes to some of Queens songs, with moving lyrics performed stunningly by the 2 leads. And no changing of the lyrics! They gave me goosebumps, and made all the problems seem less important!
All in all, this show is popular for a reason: completely accessible for all ages, fantastic choice of songs which are sung by an impressive array of performers, and just a ruddy good rocking night out!
We Will Rock You is at Ipswich until 4th July. Booking details can be found here
For more information on the tour, please see the tour website
Musical by Ben Elton and Queen