News > Cast rock stage for killer stage

Added on 05-Jul-2009

We Will Rock You

Birmingham Hippodrome.

They’re a hard act to follow – but Queen left a rich musical legacy which has spawned a spectacular show.

Die-hard fans of the band may be wary of seeing an assorted gaggle of fresh-faced singers step up to the microphone in place of the late, great Freddie Mercury. But Freddie would surely be proud of the energy, enthusiasm and talent which is keeping both the the band’s name and music alive.

And there can be no greater tribute to the cast than for Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor to join them on stage at Birmingham Hippodrome.

The duo added a special kind of magic to the show - despite a disaster with a drum kit.

Queen fanatics bowed in homage as the pair were reunited in a live performance of the band’s best-known anthem.

May was so caught up in the music that he crashed into Taylor’s drum kit as it slid into position. He stumbled to the floor but quickly recovered, barely missing a note.

Taylor’s kit was restored by crew members - and the pair later laughed off the clash.

May told the enthusiastic audience: “It took us ages to reherse that fall. I’m not sure if Roger’s kit will ever be the same again.”

He then introduced the show’s writer and director Ben Elton who joked that Taylor was to blame.

“That’s what comes of wearing your sunglasses indoors,” he said.

During the surprise appearance last night May described the cast and production team as “brilliant, brilliant” and praised their “unbelievable” performance.

And he thanked the Birmingham audience for its “wonderful warm welcome” to the company.

The storyline may be cheesy and contrived to showcase 24 of the band’s biggest hits. But it strikes a chord with its theme of a couple’s quest to escape a virtual world of clone culture and synthetic music. Queen’s original flamboyant style is echoed in a pantomine-style romp complete with its own wicked witch, X Factor finalist Brenda Edwards who plays the Killer Queen.

It’s loud, it’s fun and the music is played so well that many were wondering whether it was pre-recorded until the band was revealed at the end of the show.

Former Coronation Street star Kevin Kennedy is confident as hippy Pop and there are creditable performances by Jonathan Wilkes as Khashoggie, Alex Gaumond as Gaileo and Sarah French-Ellis as Scaramouche.

May introduced the show’s writer and director Ben Elton who joked that Taylor was to blame for May falling over his drum kit as it slid into place on stage during their suprise appearance to join in with Bohemian Rhapsody.

“That’s what comes of wearing your sunglasses indoors,” he said.

Elton praised the “power, passion and artistry” of the cast and musicians. He said the audience should not expect to see May and Taylor on stage every night.

But he said even without them it was still a brilliant show.

Watching from the tenth row of the stalls was May’s wife, former EastEnders actress Anita Dobson, who joined in enthusiastically clapping and singing along with the crowd.

Brian May said before the show: “Roger and Ben and I are very much involved. We keep close to make sure the vibe is up to the maximum level.”

And they certainly succeeded in that.

Runs until September 5.

By Eileen Wells.

Submitted by: mickyparise

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