Stage review: We Will Rock You - Leeds Grand Theatre

We Will Rock You is at Leeds Grand Theatre. Picture: Johan Persson
We Will Rock You is at Leeds Grand Theatre. Picture: Johan Persson
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Producers never miss the opportunity to make a quick quid. So it was hardly surprising that after the phenomenal success of the recent movie Bohemian Rhapsody, the biopic of Freddie Mercury and Queen, producers saw the opportunity to strike whilst the proverbial iron was hot and put out a tour of We Will Rock You.

The musical, which premiered in London in 2002, was the creation of Ben Elton, who wrote the book and features the music and lyrics of the iconic group Queen.

The central plot focusses on a group of teenagers living in a future time and place where rock music is not heard and instruments are banned and the narrative is built around Queen’s legendary pop hits.

It follows the adventures of Galileo and Scaramouche, who strive to break free from this cyber world of the future.

Along the way they are arrested by the Ga Ga Cops, face the ultimate anger of the Killer Queen, encounter Bohemian rebels and find time to fall in love before triumphantly

finding the planet’s last musical instrument.

Although it has been updated with references to X-Factor, the #Me Too Movement and Euro Disney to name but a few, We Will Rock You is laden with more innuendoes than you would find in the average pantomime and ends without any explanation of the final outcome of the story.

The show’s success is highly dependent on some of the best musicians I have heard playing for a touring show, spectacular video images projected onto LED walls, amazing special effects and some superbly designed makeup and costumes.

Director Cornelius Baltus’s production is seamless. The musical numbers are fast and furious and superbly choreographed but the dialogue is rather slow and laboured at times.

The production has a talented high energy cast who sing and dance their way through 25 Queen anthems seemingly without pausing for breath and have developed some superb characterisations. However, technically and artistically the show needs some tightening up all round, which I am sure will happen as the run progresses.

One thing is for certain, however, if you love the music of Queen you will adore this production – it’s an experience that is guaranteed to have you dancing in the aisles.

4 STARS

To November 23.