I attended the opening night of We Will Rock You at the King's Theatre, Glasgow, last night (18/1/2011) and thought I'd offer my thoughts on it! It was a belated Christmas gift for my girlfriend's dad, who had travelled over from France especially to see it.
Firstly, the street leading in to the theatre was bustling with excited crowds, eagerly anticipating the magic that was to ensue. Bustling, actually, is an understatement - it was more a stampede of hyperactive Queenies of all ages hoping for a great night. As I had already seen it a couple of times at the Dominion in London, I was slightly more calm, just hoping for a good cast! That was as excited as they got, however, and I will delve into this later!
Trying to get to the merchandise stand was a bloody nightmare, and it wasn't greatly organised, but I still managed to emerge with a nice Freddie key-ring for the sum of £5. There, I saw the board emblazened with a cast list that would boast Noel Sullivan (of Hear'Say fame) as Galileo, Amanda Coutts as Scaramouche, Ian Reddington (Eastenders/ Coronation Street) as Pop and Jonathan Wilkes as Khashoggi.
The theatre was neatly filled. Not the "sell-out" it had been billed as (there were one or two empty seats dotted throughout), but solid enough. However, the show would be delayed by 30 minutes due to some "technical hitch". That passed quicker than we had thought, though, and soon the lights went down, the curtain went up and Freddie's voice on "Innuendo" was booming loud and proud.
Character consistency was high (there were a few exceptions that I will again delve into later). This was the third time I had seen the show, and the third different cast, but all was familiar! I'm not a fan of Ian Reddington, but his performance as pop was as good as the guys I had seen before. He projected that same, gruff, voice that his predecessors had, and you could almost "smell" the hippie oozing out. His lines were delivered superbly, and he was a more than competent singer too. Khashoggi, played brilliantly by Jonothan Wilkes, would soon be sending pop to the "seven seas of rhye", and he was also just as I had seen before. From the voice, the actions and the witty one-liners through to the singing, he was spot-on. Clearly, this is a show that is very well rehearsed and tightly-knit, but he played it well all the same and was a credit (IMHO Khashoggi is the best one in the show!) to the Khashoggi character.
Noel Sullivan would soon emerge as Galileo, and I have to say he was in tremendous voice. Again, the actions, the voice etc were "samey" (I like that word, learned it here on QZ!!!) but his singing was magnificent and I was soon warming to the performance.
I wish the same could have been said about the Glasgow crowd. They just didn't seem to be getting it and appeared very cold. During any scene where crowd interaction was required, they remained silent. It was like trying to get blood out of a stone. Even during the scene were pop proclaims Queen the legends of rock, you could have heard a pin drop. If it wasn't for me (by now the WWRY veteran), there would have been no clapping or enthusiasm at all. And it wasn't as though the performance was bad! IMHO, it was a solid one, and would have been top notch but for some.
Scaramouche was next on, and for me, was the real star of the show on the night. I had never heard of Amanda Coutts before it, but I will most certainly be looking out for her again - what a voice!!!! Lines were delivered with great comic timing, and again she was a real credit to the character.
Killer Queen, played by Tiffany Graves, was a real let-down though. I don't know if her mic just wasn't picking up but it was difficult to hear her, and the bits I could hear, she couldn't sing for toffee!! Same for Britney (who had suddenly gone from a Jamaican to a Scouser) and Meat, who was no patch on Kerry Ellis.
And the plinth that Khashoggi and KQ usually sing "A Kind Of Magic" on was missing!!!!
Apart from that, I thoroughly enjoyed the night (got a bit teary at "No-one But You" and "Days Of Our lives" and again when Freddie pointed to the "place of champions") and was looking forward to my special surprise......we all know what seems to happen on the opening night of each tour. I am still waiting! They didn't show up lol.
But the band were great nonetheless and, from where I was sitting, it looked as though a certain young Taylor had been on drums! You'd never know who his father was lol.
So, overall a great show and, if KQ and Britney step it up (I'll put it down to first night nerves) I would say that it is WELL worth going to.
Two Questions though:
1 - Where were Brian and Roger?
2 - After panning the likes of Pop Idol and X-factor in previous WWRY shows, how do Queen feel about having a Pop Idol product (Sullivan - Hear'say) now playing the lead?
Thanks for reading!
It ain't about how hard you can hit, it's about how hard you can get hit: how much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!