We Will Rock You opened in Minneapolis on Tuesday night at the Orpheum Theatre. The music, both instrumentals and singing (especially from the leads) was spectacular. So good that I did not even realize the other elements of the show were below average until the curtains closed for a last time.
The dilemma in the story line was that in the future all the music creativity has been taken away. People only made music electronically, with the sole motive being profit. This was obviously a shot at the mainstream musicians of today. As a person still in high school, I never have thought of the electronic music of today a big deal.
Galileo (Brian Justin Crum) and Scaramouche (Ruby Lewis) were both outstanding singers. Crum could hold a note with the best of them and Lewis was full of short, lively notes throughout the show. They reminded me of watching Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus on the Disney Channel; lousy actors with good voices.
Neither Crum or Lewis were helped by the script. The plot was amateur at best. As for the dialogue, there were actually several good puns about famous songs. This had current references, including to the promiscuous Cyrus. But for the most part, the script was corny and clunky. There was close to zero character development. Every character seemed to be either fun or evil.
The orchestra was the best I ever heard. The songs played were almost all classics. Queen songs were about half of the musical numbers. One of the highlights was at the end of the show; after all the actors had taken a bow. Across the big screen, flashed a question: “Do you want to hear Bohemian Rhapsody?” The crowd, who had been screaming all night, was loud enough for a resounding yes (The audience behaved much like that of a rock concert audience, except less mobile because of the restrictions of age of the fans and space in the Orpheum). The cast and musicians nailed the final song; which included an elaborate guitar solo in the middle.
The set and lighting were pretty spurious. There were bright lights that would go on and shine right into your eyes. I am not one to mind that sort of thing, but the setting was just not right for it. The set tried to stick with its theme of the future by making the background a big screen with various animations for most of the show. This was too distracting. A good set will make a home for the actions going on stage, or at the least, it will blend into the performance. This set did neither.
I was on the edge of my seat, cheering loudly throughout the whole play. I certainly enjoyed my experience. However, if you are looking for a low key night at the theatre, this is not the play for you. While many aspects of the performance were subpar, I went home exhilarated. Perhaps that is as far as I should look into it.