Review: We Will Rock You – Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

Review: We Will Rock You – Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

by Melanie Adams.

Don’t stop me now, I’m having such a good time.

That was the message from me and the rest of the audience if last night’s (August 16) standing ovation was anything to go by.

Having recently seen Queen perform with Adam Lambert at the O2, I was a little apprehensive that We Will Rock You, written by Ben Elton, might prove to be a bit of an anti-climax.

But I’m happy to admit that those concerns were totally unfounded.

This musical doesn’t attempt to imitate Britain’s most successful rock band, instead it provides a very different vehicle to showcase their greatest hits and allows fans to celebrate their music in a totally different way.

It also gives a new generation of fans, who may have recently seen Bohemian Rhapsody at the cinema, a way of enjoying the Queen experience in a live setting. 

Celebrating it’s 20th anniversary, the story at the heart of this show is set in a dystopian future, where Earth has become the iPlanet and the population is trapped in a soulless cyberspace where everything is programmed and live music is a long-forgotten legend for most. A story-line which isn’t as far-fetched as it once might have felt pre-covid!

However, a small group of rebels, known as the Bohemians, are fighting to keep that legend alive and with the help of Galileo and Scaramouche, they bravely embark upon a mission to bring down the tyrannical society led by the Killer Queen and remind the world how liberating live music can be.

While Ian McIntosh, who played Galileo, showcased his brilliant voice in his own right without becoming any sort of tribute act to Freddie Mercury, for me it was the female performers whole stole the show with their extraordinary voices. 

Maybe it’s because it was so refreshing to hear the iconic songs sung by female vocalists but they blew me away and while it is difficult to choose between Jenny O’Leary who played Killer Queen, Martina Ciabatti Mennell who played Meat and Elena Skye who played Scaramouche, it was Elena’s performance of Somebody to Love that really made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck.

A special mention must also go to the live band, who absolutely smashed it and got the standing ovation they truly deserved.

As well as the breathtaking music, there were also plenty of laughs and lots of topical references that have obviously helped to keep the show fresh over the last two decades – with Sir Cliff Richard, brilliantly played by Michael McKell, getting the biggest laughs of the night.

The show must go on – and fortunately it does, with performances at the Mayflower until August 20.

For tickets click here

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