The musical featuring the music of Queen is officially back in the West End for a limited season.

(c)Dave Hogan

Rewrite This Story: *** “At risk of being a relic of jukebox musicals past, WWRY still holds up as a night of rousing entertainment and the payoff is immense when it finally reaches its electric and euphoric finale of Queen’s greatest hits. Overall, it’s safe to say it still has ‘a kind of magic’ that will bring audiences back time and time again.”

All That Dazzles: *** “We Will Rock You may not be the smartest show in the world but it does have a lot going for it. While the book lets it down somewhat, it is salvaged by a truly incredible cast, some stunning moments and, obviously, that iconic Queen songbook. This is definitely a show that works better on a big stage and this production is a fitting addition to a musical whose legacy defied expectations. While it might not be the champion when it comes to musicals to see in London this summer, hearing these classic songs played out on the stage for generations to come really is a kind of magic.”

West End Wilma: **** “With many of the cast appearing in earlier productions of the show, this homecoming production of We Will Rock You is every bit the spectacle. With plenty of surprises (including a cameo from a much-loved Dominion Theatre statue), fans of the show will love seeing it back in the West End where it belongs. If you’re a Champion or a Fat Bottomed Girl who Wants It All, don’t be Under Pressure, run Headlong past the Seven Seas of Rhye and into the London Coliseum to see We Will Rock You… it’s a Kind of Magic!”

The Upcoming: ** “To Elton’s credit, the script is ironed out well and he sprinkles his wit effectively and sparingly (though with a curious, uncharacteristic right-wing tilt, possibly pandering to the audience demographic). The staging is huge and baffling, awash with lurid neon. The whole project presents itself as a mash-up of Mad Max, pre-Tennant Who and a retro video game barely rendered on a stretched processor.”

Broadway World: * “The opportunity to ditch the highly underwhelming book with its strained dialogue and daft plot has been missed and the show is the worse for it. Considering its assault on the audience’s intelligence, perhaps We Will Mock You would be a better title.”

City Am: **** “But We Will Rock You doesn’t try to do that. It wants to celebrate Queen’s music over a spirited two-and-a-half-hours, with some stupendously brilliant performances. That’s not to say the story doesn’t stand up: Ben Elton’s musical tells the tale of a dystopian future where music is only available via one technological overload (hello iTunes), which feels creepily prescient now that AI is taking over our lives. It’s not often an old musical can feel more relevant as time goes on, but in the case of We Will Rock You, it somehow does.”

Musical Theatre Review: *** “It’s a little inevitable given that they are the main protagonists and given some of the best songs, but Ian McIntosh and Elena Skye as Galileo and Scaramouche shocked me again and again with the sheer virtuosity of their vocals. A minute after being floored by a McIntosh soaring high note, I would be melted into my seat by Skye’s extraordinary alto depth and tone. And vice versa. The London Coliseum is a big space, but the voices of these incredible young stars fill every corner. They also gamely threw themselves into the campy drama of the plot and seemed to be one-upping each other to find new and interesting ways to tell the show’s one joke (“Remember this lyric/person/thing? We don’t”).”

London **** “Ultimately, this zingy production is a lighthearted theatre spectacular that showcases the true artistry of one of the best rock and roll bands ever lived. We Will Rock You doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it still provides an expert tribute to music legends.”

Time Out: “The highlights, of course, are the songs, yet the delivery largely feels unpolished and lacking in any sort of stage presence (bar Elton’s uncle-at-a-wedding-karaoke solo). ‘We Will Rock You’ is underwhelming, with the audience reluctantly clapping along like circus animals forced to perform.”

Theatre Weekly: “But most of the We Will Rock You audience aren’t there for the plot, they want to hear the music, and the We Will Rock You orchestrations of Queen anthems are superb.  The vocals from the two leads, Ian McIntosh (Galielo) and Elena Skye (Scaramouche) are outstanding, and this would be a hit show even if it was only them on stage singing the songs with nothing else happening.”

The Telegraph: ** “Elton’s critic-confounding, crowd-pulling jukebox musical is back, it’s enduring lameness not helped by his unwisely joining the cast.”

Lost in Theatreland: *** “One aspect I appreciated is how the music is interwoven into the production, I do feel each song fits within the storyline well and doesn’t feel forced, or cause laughs as the songs do in other jukebox musicals. It’s also become a theme recently for jukebox musicals to pack in as many songs as they possibly can, which means some shows have 30+ songs in them, and each song is performed for about 20 seconds. Here, despite still including 24 songs, they are performed for longer, meaning you hear much more of the song, which feels more satisfying – especially as these are all iconic songs which deserve to be played in their entirety.”

The Guardian: ** “It is still plain to see why the show endured for its original 12-year run at the Dominion: the songs transcend their context and keep their rousing, big stadium sound. It is moving when Brian May appears on stage to play his guitar to Bohemian Rhapsody at the end, too, but the journey here has been quite a trudge.”

London Theatre 1: **** “Stuart Morley leads a well-drilled six-piece band, and the audience gets occasional glimpses of them from their above-stage position. Rory Madden’s sound design gives the show an arena concert feel during the louder musical numbers. The book’s absurdity seems to risk alienating younger theatre patrons with its take on apparent addictiveness to the internet and smartphones, as does the odd revised lyric (“All we hear is cyberspace ga-ga, marketing blah blah”). A deep and meaningful plot is to be found elsewhere. But it’s a spectacle, with stunning voices and an audio-visual experience that is, in its own way, a kind of magic.”

Evening Standard: * “This mix of gormless dystopia, cliché and snickering puerility meanders on. Elton not only directs, imperceptibly, but also plays Bohemian leader Pop, badly. Great songs – Under Pressure, One Vision and Don’t Stop Me Now – are slotted in with decreasing relevance and increasing levels of cruise-ship-entertainment incoherence.”

iNews: * “The lengthy gaps between songs are punishing, so my initial wish was that they would ditch the purgatorial plot/script and simply belt out the music, not least to stop it from being randomly crowbarred into the narrative (“Fat Bottomed Girls” is a particularly unlikely fit). Yet the actors are overamplified to the point of distortion, with a miking system that isn’t entirely reliable and the large ensemble is entirely wasted in some markedly unsophisticated choreography. Naff – not to mention slightly out-of-focus – video graphic projections provide an ugly backdrop.”

The Stage: ** “Ben Elton’s Queen musical returns in a production worth seeing – if only because nothing comes close to the level of weird badness it attains.”

We Will Rock You continues to play at the London Coliseum. To book tickets click here.


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