BY SHAUNA SKYE
My better half and I were in London yesterday to see “We Will Rock You” the Queen musical. We had fun in general — we were celebrating our upcoming anniversary — but afterwards we both had criticism for this show.
The story takes place in the future. Earth has become the iplanet, a place of conformity controlled by Globalsoft Corporation. Ga Ga Kids all listen to the same manufactured music, and instruments and rock music are forbidden.
Ok, so it has the potential to be entertaining, and at least the music can’t be too bad since it was written by Queen. Unfortunately, though, the jokes fell flat, and the characters in this show were not so great. The leading man, Galileo Figaro, had the personality of a dorky Jerry Lewis. He could sing, but was certainly no better than any other singing actor. Hello? These are Queen songs which call for a great voice. We know that no one is going to sing as great as Freddie, but at least try to get someone a step above the rest.
The screen behind the actors had various things happening, and at one point it showed “virtual” people. I have to say, our avatars in Second Life look much better than these depicted on the giant screen. They were meant to be from far in the future, but it looked a bit like the 1990s to me, or at best the early days of SL before people got good skin.
The pop culture references in the show were also dated, and there were too many references to Britney Spears. I can only take so many Britney references, even as a joke. Some of the “rebel” Bohemians, who were supposed to be rebelling against manufactured music and styles still managed to dress like poptarts too.
Apparently we weren’t the only ones with criticism. Here’s what wiki says:
London’s critics almost uniformly panned the show, criticising the concept and direction. The Guardian wrote that the premise “really is as sixth form as it sounds”, called the production “ruthlessly packaged and manufactured” and opined that the “sometimes funny” libretto exists mainly to “devise more unlikely ways to wring out another Queen song.” The Daily Mirror wrote that “Ben Elton should be shot for this risible story.” However, some individual performances received praise and the production remains a popular success. In their popular book Is It Just Me Or Is Everything Shit, Steve Lowe and Alan MacArthur derided the show as having “a plot similar to a Yes concept album”.
We should have looked into it before seeing it, but we wanted a night out with music, and even with the criticism I don’t regret going. When they finally sang “Bohemian Rhapsody” they did well, and I had to smile at some of the audience too. During “We are the Champions” an old lady in front of me was waving her hands in the air and singing along. That made me tear up. If you want to see a really great live musical, though, I would suggest you skip “We Will Rock You” and go see Jersey Boys instead. That was really great.