**** 4 stars Reviewer: Alide Chaney
The Perth Theatre scene is back and We Will Rock You brings it back with a bang!
Ben Elton’s enduring Jukebox Rock Musical, inspired by the epic hits of Queen is a show that is bound to thrill Perth audiences.
My first introduction to We Will Rock You was with Platinum Entertainments first production at His Majesty’s Theatre here in Perth 2018. They then went on to do a season at The Quarry Amphitheatre in 2019. Now with tweaks, adjustments and obviously a huge learning curve, it is now fit for a royal crown.
We Will Rock You is not a show that should be mistaken as a tribute to Queen. The stellar hits and anthems of this legendary band, bring familiarity to a tongue in cheek sci fi comedy of a dystopian future. Controlled by a large corporation via the internet (Radio Gaga) human kind have seemingly lost the power of individual thought and rock and roll is long dead.
Galileo (Gazza) the hero and dreamer and the renamed Scaramouche (Scary bush) his independent love interest, are performed wonderfully well by Blake Williams and Holly Denton bringing humour, warmth and impressive vocals to their roles. Their duet ‘Who Wants to Live Forever’ is sublime.
Casey Donovan, the only non-WA artist as Killer Queen, the head of Globalsoft Corporation ruling Planet Earth, is performed with gusto and produces commanding vocals. And as Khashoggi, the leader of the Gaga cops, Dean Misdale is in fine voice. I love his style and flourish in his Armani outfits.
Matt Dyktynski as ageing hippie Buddy (Holly) gives an assured performance with ‘These are the days of our lives’ warmly executed. And combining a soulful voice and impressive Taiaha wielding skills, Clay Darius brings a refreshing dimension to the role of Brit (Spears) the Bohemian rebel.
Paula Parore, is pure genius as Oz (Ozzy Osbourne). Her characterisation and sublime vocals are mesmerising. Her soulful rendition of ‘No One but You’ brought a tear to this reviewers eye. A superb talent.
Ash Schofield (Madonna), Sooz Bennet (Scottish rebel leader), Jessie James (Aretha) Jesse C Waghorn (Whitesnake), Louise Azarian (ACDC) and Andrew Milner (Katy Perry) all give notable performances in an impressively strong ensemble.
With a mix of hip hop, contemporary and old school jazz, Una Genuino’s energetic choreography is adeptly executed with precision and uniformity. The interpretation of ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ with strutting Yuppies showing their behinds with obvious allure a particular highlight.
An ‘electric’ and rockin’ band ably overseen by Musical Director Joe Louis Robinson does full justice to Brian May and Freddie Mercury’s music. Particular mention to Shayne Savic and Jarred Van Dort as the guitarists who recreate the unique rifts that are so undeniably Queen.
The staging and sets (Trevor Patient) using high definition animated video walls are used with great effect and combine brilliantly with a wonderful lighting design. The wall of blinding lights during the encore is inspired.
The Crown Theatre venue is not one to be taken on lightly. There is a huge expanse of stage to fill and a huge seating capacity even with the Covid restrictions of a 60% for each performance. This is a massive undertaking by a predominantly small production company still in its infancy, but what an effort from the whole team. It is incredibly satisfying to see a show that invests in and fosters our wealth of home grown talent.
We Will Rock You plays at the Crown Theatre Perth until 22 Nov. Tickets
Pic credit: Stephen Heath