Live Review: We Will Rock You

We Will Rock You Stage Production | Photos Some Bizarre Monkey


By Frankie Champion

Date / Venue: Tuesday August 20th, 2019 - Bruce Mason Centre, Auckland

On a brisk and rainy Tuesday night, hundreds of cold and wet Aucklanders tumbled into the Bruce Mason theatre with their expectations and hopes high to see the opening night of the 2019 musical theatre production of “We Will Rock You”.

 British playwright Ben Elton explores the notion of technology and how the digital world intercepts with society in the future. A current and topical issue in 2019, although the original play was written and published in 2002. All this while playing tribute to, and revamping, the iconic hits from one of the most influential rock and roll bands of all time, Queen. 

 This modern musical had a strong comedic element, which the packed-out crowd thoroughly enjoyed. Each scene was filled with puns and innuendos, the audience laughed, giggled and even blushed, along with the raunchy actors. 

 New Zealand’s very own Annie Crummer made her second debut staring as Killer Queen, a tyrant of the future. She brought passion and power to her character onstage. Her strong vocals helped carry many of the songs in the play - a total professional powerhouse. One of the best songs of the night was easily Crummer’s rendition of Another One Bites the Dust.

 This was fitting as Annie Crummer was herself invited to record the song at Roger Taylor’s studio in London, by Queen. She didn’t disappoint as she gave it her all with every note perfect. Hence why the crowd loved it, showing that love for the performance the only way an audience knows how; with the loudest applause full of yelling, stomping and whistling. 

 While Annie Crummer’s performance was an entirely amazing spectacle, the lead role of Galileo, played by William Deane fell flat. Obviously Freddie Mercury was one of the most amazing and talented singers of all time, an extremely tough act to follow, however Deanne’s vocals were simply not in key and his energy was frankly not as true or energetic to the performance as I would have hoped. This left some songs slightly lacklustre, a disappointment for die-hard Queen fans, but not a big deal for the families who were out for a night of entertainment. They were seemingly pleased with the entire performance. In fact one woman obviously loved the show so much, she arose from her seat after just the fifth song to stand and dance along in her aisle with the cast members who were onstage, releasing her own rock and roll passion. 

 In regards to the set, costume, lighting and sound, the modern and alternative universe, portrayed 300 years in the future, was cleverly conveyed with the use of a large digital backdrop. This allowed for quick scene changes, and also amazing graphics and visuals, emphasising the futuristic feel of the show. The costumes, which were crafted in London, were bright and colourful and full of fun. Killer Queen’s costume was so incredibly detailed, with strong elements such as shoulder pads, capes and thigh high boots, which emphasised the power her character had and matched her power vocals.

 Lighting and digital effects were great, however sound was slightly disappointing as there were a number of clear technical difficulties. Despite that, back stage crew and production staff should be commended for doing an extraordinarily good job on a challenging piece of theatre. 

 The magicians of the show were clearly the amazing live band, who were unfortunately situated behind the stage curtains. They were in time, in key and full of energy, as they fuelled the entire performance. Over two separate acts they played hard non-stop, doing justice to Queen. The live band was one of my personal highlights of the show. They supported each and every song and my only critique is that we could not see the underdogs of the show. The few times they were made visible the crowd went wild. 

 Overall the crowd enjoyed this rendition of We Will Rock You, produced by Regan Crummer and originally written by Ben Elton. The cast proved their own enthusiasm for rock and roll and their love of musical theatre with this adaptation. While only a few aspects of the production fell slightly under expectations, the entire piece of theatre as one can be considered a worthwhile night out for theatre goers of all ages.

 All elements of the show came to life in order to tell the story of a romance, a comedy, a musical and an insight into the future of modern society, while also paying tribute to one of the most iconic bands of our time Queen.