Arts Theatre, Fri 6 Jul.
Matt Byrne Media has pulled out all the stops to ensure the Arts Theatre audience has a rockin’ good time. Byrne has assembled a quality cast to showcase the writing of Ben Elton and music of Queen and ensured We Will Rock You is technically and visually more robust than other community theatre productions.
The London production opened in 2002 and despite critical dissatisfaction, We Will Rock You became the tenth longest-running musical in West End history. The musical tells the story of a group of Bohemians who struggle to restore the free exchange of thought, fashion, and live music in a distant future where everyone dresses, thinks and acts the same. Musical instruments and composers are forbidden, and rock music is all but unknown.
The female cast were the real standouts of the show tonight. The whole show lifted once Danielle Greaves, playing Scaramouche, hit the stage with her commanding voice and presence. The show was further lifted by April Stuart as the dominant Killer Queen and Kathryn Driver was sensational in her song No One But You. Anthony Butler (Brit) looked fantastic and together with Matt Byrne (Buddy Holly) and James McCluskey-Garcia (Khashoggi) milked the comedy elements of their characters.
Iman Saleh provided a solid performance as the lead Galileo, but unfortunately tonight mimed his songs, which when sung live was obviously not going to be as on point as Queens on Ru Paul’s Drag Race, and therefore really impacted on the strength of his character. Iman soldiered on though showing real professionalism and Musical Director Kim Clark sounded brilliant stepping in to sing his lyrics, whilst also making sure his band was spot on. Incredible job Kim and well done to the cast and crew for ensuring the show went on. There is no doubt this musical is a hard sing, especially for the lead characters, so hopefully the cast really look after their voices as it is a long season.
Thanks to Sue Winston’s costumes, the cast looked great, as did the set and projections and the choreography by Sarah Williams was impressive when the cast were confident in their moves. There were pace problems overall with some jokes going on too long, some very slow scene transitions and snappier line delivery needed by some cast.
Queen’s music really has sustained itself through multiple generations of rock lovers. If you love Queen, as it appeared so many did in the audience tonight, you will likely love this show.
We Will Rock You continues at Arts Theatre, 53 Angas St, Adelaide, at various times, until Sun 14 Jul and Elizabeth’s Shedley Theatre, at various times, from Thu 19 Jul to Sat 28 Jul.