Sydney’s Rocking: Review of We Will Rock You at the Sydney Lyric Theatre

The cast of We Will Rock You, photo by Jeff Busby

You know you’re in for a good show when your face is rocked off before the curtains even open. From start to finish We Will Rock You delivers exactly what it promises. Hit after hit of Queen’s rock anthems are woven into a humorous storyline that takes a satirical stab at the social media obsessed generation. Meanwhile, the band pack such a punch I’ll never need succumb to botox!

This award-winning show has garnered many an accolade since it burst onto the West End in 2002 – not least of all being crowned the UK’s favourite show at the Olivier awards in 2011. Selling over 6 million tickets in the UK and 16 million worldwide, We Will Rock You has confirmed its wide-reaching popularity. For its latest run in Sydney, writer/director Ben Elton has updated the story line for the social media generation but also made it relevant to the Australian audience. (I actually spotted Ben Elton in the stalls last night studiously taking notes on the reception that certain jokes had with the audience!)

Blown away by these leading ladies. Photo by Jeff Busby

Blown away by these leading ladies. Photo by Jeff Busby

As a blogger this storyline could not have been more relevant. Set in a dystopian future where instruments, live music and creative thought are banned, the bohemians fight to bring back the rhapsody! Pretty poignant messages about our generation’s obsessions with computer games, twitter and hashtags are mixed in with instantly recognisable lyrics and, of course, the much-loved music of Freddie Mercury.

And boy do this all-Australian cast give the songs some personality. From the second Scaramouche (played by Erin Clare in a pretty convincing cockney accent) sung the first lines of ‘Somebody To Love’ I was hooked. She has the type of voice that makes you want to focus on her and no one else. That is until Oz, played by Jaz Flowers, entered the scene and gave the most hypnotising performance of ‘No One But You (Only The Good Die Young)’ I forgot to breathe for a second.

Casey Donovan killing it as Killer Queen. Photo by Jeff Busby

Casey Donovan killing it as Killer Queen. Photo by Jeff Busby

All the leading ladies really stood out for me – the combination of playfulness and pipes Casey Donovan (The Sapphires, Rent) put into her role as Killer Queen was superb. The boys held their own too – I couldn’t help but giggle at the moves of Simon Russell (ABC TV’s Jack Irish, Neighbours) as Khashoggi, and we were all dying for Galileo, played by Gareth Keegan, to give us the ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ in the show’s final moments.

Those jokes that Ben Elton seemed to be making notes on when down really well too. I love seeing a show adapted for its local audience and in this script gags about Canberra and Target and references to Aussie music legends were really well received by last night’s audience, myself included!

Although I saw the show years ago on London’s West End last night’s performance felt brand new – refreshed and relevant for present day but with all the Queen anthems from rock history. There have been over 3600 performances of We Will Rock You in the UK and every one of them had a standing ovation. Last night that trend continued in Sydney.

More Info

We Will Rock You is now showing at the Sydney Lyric Theatre. The show is suitable for children aged 13 years and over. For more information and to book please visit the website.

This post was bought to you by Nuffnang and We Will Rock You. All opinions are my own.

4 Comments

  • LisaLDN says:

    I absolutely LOVE We Will Rock You! I’ve seen it in London 3 times, and would still love to see it again! Only the good die Young is so mesmerising, and the storyline is so fun! 🙂

  • Jayne Gorman says:

    Such a fun night out isn’t it. I’ve been singing Queen tunes all week long!

  • Geo says:

    We saw the original West End production many years ago and enjoyed it immensely. It was musical, slick and professional.
    The Sydney production was none of the above, it was more like a high school production the singing was at times ear splitting and jarring, far too loud for the sound system which sounded distorted with overload. We left after one hour. Very disappointed.

  • Mick says:

    The Original London production had a weak story and feeble jokes but this did not seem to matter as the music and dancing made up for the weknesses. Sory to say this Sydney production has even more feeble humour but there were no compensating performances to make the show work.too much loud shreiking for my taste.

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