BWW Reviews: WE WILL ROCK YOU is an Irresistible Delight in Raleigh
We Will Rock You, a musical featuring the songs of Queen, has been one of the most successful shows in London's West End for quite some time. Now, it is touring America, bringing familiar songs and a fun story around the country. It's spending the week in Raleigh, in the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, brought to you by North Carolina Theatre and Broadway Series South. The show is a true rock musical, complete with loud music, lasers, and sweet guitar riffs.
We Will Rock You takes place in the future, after digital mega-corporation Globalsoft has taken over the planet once called Earth, and turned everything digital - even things like friendship and music. There is no original music anymore, though legend tells of something that once existed, something called Rock and Roll. A few brave citizens have broken free from the oppressive technological powers that be, and have set up camp in the ruins of Hard Rock Café in Las Vegas, banding together to try and salvage whatever they can of Rock and Roll. They've even adopted famous rockers' names as their own, resulting in some great comic moments. Galileo Figaro hears Rock and Roll lyrics in his dreams, and sets out with the girl he names Scaramouche to find the last remaining musical instrument on the planet, all in the hopes of unleashing the elusive rock music which haunts his dreams.
This show has a whole lot going for it. In true rock fashion this show is loud, the strobe lights are bright, and there's plenty of flashy lasers and video screens. It gives the feel of a rock concert while still being a stage production. The costumes, in their futuristic retro Rock and Roll style, are charming and help bring the characters to life. The actors have great rock vocals and smart comic timing, and the band is beyond amazing. While the plot sometimes caters to the songs, rather than the other way around, the music is good enough that it really doesn't matter. Some of the jokes are "groaners," but amusingly enjoyable ones, and the overall effect is to create characters who are charming and lovable. It almost goes without saying that the music is great - it is Queen music, after all. Even those who didn't grow up as die-hard Queen fans will enjoy the music. All of the leading actors are stellar, as is the ensemble cast. Brian Justin Crum, who leads the show as Galileo, has a voice that slides right into these rock songs, like he was born to sing exactly this music. He's vocally powerful, expressive, and a joy to listen to. Accompanying him as Scaramouche, Ruby Lewis matches his talent and from the moment she starts belting "Somebody to Love," you'll be a fan. I could easily list the cast's merits, one talented performer at a time, and go on for days - long story short, they totally rock.
The show is full of references to Rock and Roll music dating from the fifties to the current day, and it's clear that the creative team keeps the show fresh by updating moments of the show to reflect current events. Most importantly, it's abundantly clear that the actors and musicians love their job - they are having fun on stage, and the audience is reciprocating. There were plenty of fists in the air, arms swaying, and cheers from the audience during the show. We Will Rock You is not a prim and proper musical, but one at which you just can't help but clap along and enjoy with your whole body.
We Will Rock You runs through December 8. For tickets and more information, visit www.nctheatre.com.