Review | We Will Rock You at the Kings Theatre, Portsmouth: 'Hit songs of Queen come alive in the hands of this talented cast'

WHEN Ben Elton had the task of writing a story to link the greatest hits of Queen together to form a West End musical more than 20 years ago, he could have chosen to craft something gritty, dark and serious.

Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 3:55 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 3:56 pm

But of course he didn’t – and thank goodness for that.

The smash-hit jukebox musical is almost like the love child of a rock concert and a pantomime, with some of the most iconic tunes of all time set amid a tongue-in-cheek plot in which rock can conquer all.

And for its purpose of linking the songs together, the plot is serviceable.

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Pictured: Brian May on the stage with the rest of the We Will Rock You cast at The Kings Picture: Habibur Rahman

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Audience at the Kings treated to surprise guitar solo from Queen legend Brian Ma...

We are introduced to a dystopian future where the evil Globalsoft Corporation controls everything on the iPlanet – making musical instruments and rock music illegal.

It is up to our main characters Galileo, Scaramouche and a band of Bohemians to bring rock back to the world and defeat the Globalsoft’s boss – the Killer Queen.

Having seen a production of WWRY at the Dominion Theatre in London, more than a decade ago and before most people had even heard of Facebook, it is striking how the story has managed to stay and become a more relevant – during Radio Gaga the ensemble sings how they ‘hope to record our life online, touch any key, the world is mine.’

The 2019 cast of We Will Rock You performing at Sheffield's Lyceum Theatre

A few alterations have been made from the early West End production, with newer pop culture references – as well as one nod to Covid – and the song Play the Game is swapped out and The Show Must Go On added.

But the main draw of the show is of course the music, and this is where it excels. We know the songs are great but in the hands of this production’s band and cast they really come alive.

The female leads steal the show. Elena Skye as Scaramouche and Jennifer O’Leary as the Killer Queen are spine-tinglingly good, effortlessly belting out hits like Someone to Love and Don’t Stop Me Now respectively.

The 2019 cast of We Will Rock You performing at Sheffield's Lyceum Theatre, Credit: Johan Persson

Ian McIntosh also shines as Galileo with unrivalled vocals and capturing the bravado needed for any rock hero.

Fans of Queen will never be disappointed with We Will Rock You, and fans of the show itself will delight in this phenomenally talented cast.

And of course it did not hurt that on the night of this review Queen legend Brian May made a surprise cameo at the end of the show – taking to the stage to play his famous guitar solo during the closing number of Bohemian Rhapsody.

After a micro-second of a pause in which audience members processed what they were witnessing, they quickly erupted with applause and leapt out of their seats.

It was a performance no one in the room will ever forget.

At the Kings until Saturday, February 12.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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