We Will Rock You
- Kelly Apter
- 19 November 2009
Regardless of how unsure or cynical you may be walking into this musical, by the time the eponymous song comes around, if your hands aren’t clapping and your voice isn’t belting out ‘we will, we will rock you!’, then check your pulse, for you may well be dead.
It’s impossible to resist the allure of this rock extravaganza. Unless, of course, you can’t stand Queen - in which case stay away, because it’s wall-to-wall Freddie and the boys. Although even then, speaking as a non-Queen fan, hearing the songs in a different context, sung by some truly phenomenal vocalists, prompts a new-found appreciation of how well crafted they are.
Ben Elton’s storyline straddles the borderline between utterly daft and scarily prophetic, imagining a future world where musical instruments are banned and songs are all computer-generated. Set hundreds of years hence, much amusement is found in looking back at music’s demise (largely attributed to Simon Cowell and pop stars who are ‘famous for less time than it takes to play their record’) and unearthing the true meaning of rock’n’roll.
The songs are well-placed, the script largely witty and the set design suitably epic, but the main selling point here is the performances. A cracking band and genuinely talented musical theatre actors conspire to make this a show that not only pays homage to Queen, but live music generally. As titles go, it’s an honest one, because after two and a half hours we’ve all been well and truly rocked.
Edinburgh Playhouse, until Sat 9 Jan