BWW Review: WE WILL ROCK YOU at Casino De Paris

BWW Review: WE WILL ROCK YOU at Casino De Paris

We Will Rock You, originally produced by Robert De Niro and written by Ben Elton, who, building on Queen's repertoire, collaborated with the remaining members of the group Roger Taylor and Brian May, was one of the first highly successful jukebox musicals. Opening in 2002 at the huge Dominion Theatrein London, where it run for 12 years, the show traveled to the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. It was also a big hit in Australia, Japan and Russia. And in 2006, it was produced in Portugal, Chilie, Argentina, Switzerland and Germany, followed by long runs in Madrid, Vienna, Singapour and Hong-Kong. The German language version also met with huge success in both Cologne and Stuttgart, but the Canadian production in Toronto, an obvious try-out, never made it to Broadway. The reason clearly lies in the book, beyond silly compared to those of the now numerous other juke box musicals that hit the great white way towards the beginning of the millennium.

Despite a very good cast and exciting choreography by Christopher Lopez and Raffaele Lucania, the first French version at Casino de Paris , fortunately keeping the songs in English, brings no improvement in the book department and Ned Grujic's usual anachronistic jokes surely don't help the childish science fiction plot make any more sense.

Gone are the spectacular sets of the London original, but the limited production value helps us focus more on Queen's immortal music and the youthful and spirited large cast. Fresh from playing Doddy in the stage production of Grease at Mogador, for which he was nominated for a French musical award, "Les Trophées de la comédie musicale", Doryan Ben is simply fantastic in the title role of Galileo. Reunited with musical director, Raphaël Sanchez, who wrote the Revenge of Captain Hook, for which Doryan played Peter Pan, he does justice to the most difficult Queen songs, such as "Bohemian Rhapsody", aptly used as an encore, with his impressive vocal range. Claire Perot, the original Sally Bowles of Cabaret at the Les Folies Bergère in 2007, is amazing as Oz. Too bad she has not much more to do in the show. Charlotte Hervieux, currently also appearing as Wednesday in the matinees of The Addams Family at the Théâtre le Palace, for which she was also nominated for a "Trophée" last season, is excellent as Scaramouche and has a good chemistry with Doryan.

The rest of the supporting cast is equally sufficient with Antoine Lelandais as Brit, Alain Wilmet as Buddy and, for a box office plus, the Voice contestant Ana Ka, impressive as the killer Queen. True there is some overacting here and there, but we gladly forgive it for the sheer energy the company generously shares with the packed house. We must be grateful to Ned Grugic for adapting, without the financial means of Stage Entertainment, such musicals as Hairspray, Shrek, The Addams Family, and now We Will Rock You, which the French public would never get the chance to discover otherwise. We hope this one will tour and rock the road after it ends its run at the Casino de Paris on the 4th of November!

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From This Author Patrick Honoré

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