Sunday, November 24, 2013

"We Will Rock You" is Wild

If I'm entirely honest, I have to admit: I thought I would hate this show. 

But as long as we're being frank, I also have to admit: although it has several flaws (particularly the pretty out-there narrative), I had an extremely enjoyable time watching it.

We Will Rock You is a musical based on the music of Queen. The collection of songs are held together by a loose narrative set in a dystopian world where music is corporately commercialized, and little opportunity for creativity is allowed the general public. 

There are those who fight back, however. Galileo Figaro (Brian Justin Crum) and Scaramouche (Ruby Lewis) have never fit in with the rest of pop music, and when they connect with the underground rebel bohemian community, sparks fly. The bohemians are intercepted by the powers behind oppressive corporate music, but not before the bohemians successfully set Galileo and Scaramouche on their way towards freeing the world from its generic pop grip. To break it down: think Steven Spielsburg Indiana Jones Nazi villains meet Queen meet Sasha Baren Cohen (phew!).

Crum's voice at times bears an uncanny resemblance to Freddy Mercury's, lending an air of authenticity to his musical performances. He's eager and high energy, two traits that continually got hte crowd involved. 

The show's standout by far, however, is Lewis, whose voice definitively proves that the sometimes expressed opinoin that female voices are not suited to rock music is 1,000% false. She is hard and soft, abrasive and inviting, and every song she performed brought down the house. The show is worth attending if only to hear her sing. 

Other notable cast performances include Jacqueline Arnold as the Killer Queen, who is perhaps the most Ru Paul draglicious character I've seen on stage yet. Her performances aren't as high energy as those of Crum or Lewis, but her strutting is definitely enjoyable. For comedic relief, Ryan Knowles excels as Buddy. His droll, presumably pot-influenced bohemian is hilarious, and saves the second act when it begins to drag.

The best parts of the show, of course, are the songs (the theater interludes tend to drag We Will Rock You down). Standouts include "Somebody to Love," "I Want It All," and the balls to the walls encore of "Bohemian Rhapsody." Many songs had the audience singing, clapping, and/or on their feet, and it was great to see such a high energy connection between them and the performers. 

Against all odds, We Will Rock You is an incredibly enjoyable rock romp, and it's particularly suited to fans of classic 80's rock music. It could use some tightening in the plot and a little judicious editing, on the whole it's definitely worth it for those rock fans.