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"We Will Rock You" at the Orpheum Theatre: We Will (Blind) You
The music of We Will Rock You will definitely give you a rush, but the heavy tech and the dancing... not so much. The show runs from November 19th-24th at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis; the first National U.S. tour. When I went to see the show on opening night, November 19th, I was definitely excited, but more excited by the fact that I was going to see a show at the Orpheum for the very first time. I went in knowing almost nothing about rock, and left knowing that I would never want to go to a rock concert.
I have to say that my favorite character was Scaramouche. Played by the ever-fantastic Ruby Lewis, Scaramouche represented the typical stubborn teenage girl today. She constantly emanated sass and character and her stage presence filled the entire theatre. Lewis' voice was absolutely breath-taking, and every time she opened her mouth to sing I got goose bumps. Her performance of "Somebody to Love" was the best cover I have ever heard. Lewis stole the show and had at least half the audience falling for her the moment she stepped onstage. My favorite songs were definitely "Under Pressure", "We Will Rock You", the encore "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Hammer to Fall", which distinctly reminded me of "I Think I Got You Beat" from Shrek the Musical. However, at times the band overpowered the lead singers, especially the Killer Queen. When she sang, I often couldn't hear a thing save for the phenomenal guitarists and percussion players.
Despite the extraordinary performances of the entire cast, there were a few things that disappointed me quite a bit. First was the way the musical started, with a screen at the back of the stage that displayed a very cliché beginning. It was almost exactly like the beginning of a Star Wars movie, complete with the moving stars, and had me thinking, "Well that was lame". The screen itself often displayed very distracting themes, nauseating patterns, and creepy manikins/skulls. Second, the dancing was weird. I know this show is supposed to have a futuristic vibe as well as the rock concert vibe, but it seemed extremely out of place and when it was with the Killer Queen, extremely sexual. For some reason, I enjoyed the very simple choreography in "Under Pressure" much more than the robotic choreography of "Radio Ga Ga". The dancers were clearly amazing, but the choreography undermined their ability. And third, the show's lighting was dissatisfying. At the least, they should put a sign outside of the doors saying, "Warning: This show uses many light features that may cause queasiness". In the song "A Kind of Magic", the white lights were so blinding that I could still see them through my closed eyelids. In "A Crazy Little Thing Called Love", I felt sick because of all the swirling lights and shapes that roamed throughout the theatre.
With its impressive aspects (the music and the acting), and its disappointing parts (the screen, the dancing, and the lighting), We Will Rock You partially rocked me. This show mainly existed as a framework for covers of some of Queen's greatest songs. I would only recommend this show to people in their late teens and adults because of all the sexual innuendo included. I personally would not want to explain all the things that a curious young person would ask after the show. If you are an adult that would like a fantastic evening of music and you enjoy the feeling of a blinding rock concert, then this is the show for you.