Queen is one of those timeless bands everyone has heard of, regardless of age. Even if the name of the band isn’t familiar to, say, a younger (or older) person, they’ve definitely heard some of the band’s music — just sing a little “Bohemian Rhapsody” or “We Are the Champions” and they’ll know immediately who you’re talking about.
When deciding what band to write a musical around, Queen seems an obvious choice, based on name (and song) recognition alone.
“We Will Rock You” is definitely a jukebox musical, and a little light on plot, although it tries hard to be cohesive. It’s the future, music is not allowed and everyone has to act the same, watch the same media, conform to the same paradigm. A group of bohemians is rebelling against Globalsoft Corp., which runs the world; the Killer Queen (Jacqueline B. Arnold) is in charge, and as she and her minions catch the bohemians, they drain their brains and turn them into more mindless drones.
It’s up to Galileo (Brian Justin Crum), Scaramouche (Jennifer Noble) and Buddy (Ryan Knowles), the only bohemians who still have their wits about them, to re-introduce music to the world and free everyone from the evil corporation that controls them.
The plot may have holes and be quite indicative of a number of shows/movies/books that have come before it, but a jukebox musical is about the music, and the music in this show delivers. Don’t go to this show expecting a quiet, sedate night at the theater; you’re going to get rock and roll, and it’s going to be loud (an older couple in front of me brought earplugs, which may have been a good idea).
The sound at Proctors isn’t the best for loud rock shows, with the band often drowning out the performers — something that happened quite often during the show. Luckily, as the plot wasn’t that important, you could still tell what was going on without hearing all the words (and honestly, we know most of the words to Queen’s greatest hits anyway).
The only major complaint with the music is that there seemed to be too much of it — every Queen song that could be jammed into the show was, sometimes for no apparent reason. Although it was nice to hear the songs again, a little more care might have been taken to have them match the plot.
As the bohemians tasked with saving the world, Crum and Lewis were both excellent in their roles, with both the acting chops and voices necessary for Queen’s music. Special kudos to Ryan Knowles as Buddy; his comedic timing was impeccable, and he was able to get laughter from the audience with lines that could easily have been groan-worthy.
If you’re a Queen fan, this is a must-see production; if you’re going for a spectacle, again this is definitely worth a look. If you’re going for a well-plotted production, this might not be the show for you, but you will be rocked, and there’s nothing wrong with that, at least once in a while.