I was not disappointed in the traveling production of We Will Rock You at the Orpheum on November 19. It was one elaborate rock concert with a Broadway punch. The basic story takes place in a futuristic reality where a major Internet company called Globesoft dominates the world. Globesoft had successfully seemed to rid the world of freethinking individuals and rock n’ roll except for an underground movement of Bohemians who wish redefine themselves through the power of rock and roll. The overall all plot is, unfortunately, a rather shallow retelling of the usual “Preppy vs. Punks” storyline, but if you’re judging the show solely on its plot intricacy you are missing the point of the show. The show is supposed to be overly done and showy, it’s a flashy, slightly nostalgic tribute to the golden age of rock. It’s not supposed to be a classical musical story, it’s a rock concert and it’s fun. It was nearly impossible not to get swept up into the dazzling lights and loud enthusiastic music into a crazy world of dyed hair and legends of electric guitars.
The ensemble was huge, but it worked for the production because its was supposed to be over done, the number of people on stage gave it more energy and fullness. Thee multitude of voices gave the music the operatic flare that had always existed in Queen’s music. The woman who played Scaramouche was exceptional, playing the slightly self conscious and sarcastic adolescent girl struggling to be herself in the Internet gaga world. She really shone in the first song she sang “Somebody to Love” where her voice completely captivated the moment and I was ready for a good show. There characters of “Buddy” played by Ryan Knowles and “Brit” Jared Zirilli, did wonderful comedic interpretations of the stereotypical “rocker dude” that played the perfect balance between glorifying and making fun of the legends of rock n’ roll.
The overall technical production was extremely elaborate. The crazily colored spotlights and animated backdrops that pulsed to the beat of the music made the show look and feel like a rock concert. The music was wild and LOUD. Technically, some things should have been done to adjust the sound system because the vocals were sometimes difficult to understand. However, the band was rockn’ so it wasn’t all bad. The costumes were fabulous. The contrast between the gaga girl’s shiny white plastic and the Bohemians dark, crazy, hair dyed, risqué fashion statements was perfect. The only thing that was a little unusual was the costumes of the Killer Queen, the villain of the story. Her studded leather costumes and crazy attitude did not match that of the perky Internet world she dominated. Her character was the weakest of the entire show, her songs seemed to come out of nowhere and it was mostly due to the un-development of her character, the villain who’s supposed to drive the conflict that the plot was so wonky.
“We Will Rock You” is a loose, hilarious, plot used to create context for an elaborate Broadway-style rock concert. Anyone who is familiar with Queen’s music will note the exceptional theatrical quality of their music that made it the perfect match for the stage. Anyone who’s looking for an excuse to wear their old leather jacket and hear some rock n’ roll better come on downtown to catch this show!