We Will Rock You : Live at The O2 Dublin – Thursday April 4th 2013
We all know the extensive appeal of the music of Queen but delivered in a musical format could it still pack a punch? We Will Rock You came for a visit to Dublin’s O2 and despite a ten year West End run and 12 million people attending the show, I still had my reservations.
The show is based in the future where Earth is now called the iPlanet. Rock n roll is outlawed, there are no instruments and all that exists are boy and girl bands. Underground believers, called ‘Bohemians’ believe that in the past there was a time when people made their own music, this era was called ‘The Rhapsody’. Step forward one brave soul who calls himself ‘Galileo Figaro’ who fires lyrics to fifties rock n roll songs out out of him. He hooks up with a nice girl, who is called, wait for it, ‘Scaramouche’. They battle against the Killer Queen, have to get to the Seven Seas of Rhye.. OK, you get the idea, it’s cheesy as hell.
Ben Elton’s script is a little bit ‘colour by numbers’. Good guy/Bad Guy, will the guy get the girl? Of the main leads, ‘Scaramouche’ gets all the sarky oneliners while ‘Galileo’ comes across as a little bit moany. There are indicators throughout, which give the impression that the script has been updated as the years have past, character names, song titles not long left the Top 40. The revolving sets were clever and gave a Mad Max vibe to the stage.
Musically, the first half of the show’s highlight was Scaramouche’s version of ‘Somebody to Love’. It really did take until halfway through the second act to really grab the attention despite the best efforts from the cast with audience interaction. It didn’t help that the venue was half full, desperately pointing out the need for a proper mid sized venue with a huge stage in the capital. A line or two of a Queen song, just isn’t enough, I was wanting more. And so it seemed that’s what the audience around me wanted too, to ‘Rock’ as the title suggests.
The introduction of the live band and the explosiveness of the finale of ‘We Will Rock You’ and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, delivered what I had hoped from the entire show, but it was a little too late. I left a little disappointed, maybe what I wanted was a full live Queen set but then again, who really could even come close to filling Freddie’s shoes?