Not just shaken, stirred but most definitely rocked! This production may be a touring one but it is first class in terms of staging and has an outstanding cast including Jenny Douglas from Edinburgh and Ashley J Russell from the Falkirk area. The evening was topped for all Queen devotees by an appearance by the legendary Brian May who joined the grand finale with a guitar solo that brought the rest of the house to its feet.
Hear ‘say vocalist, Noel Sullivan has the male lead in the show and has the voice to match the demands of the music but the actor that catches the eye is Amanda Coutts who has some of the best comic moments as ‘Scaramouche’ as well as having a mixture of both powerful and tender vocals. Her duet with Noel Sullivan ‘who wants to live forever’ was the point where the production moves from being a very good tribute concert into a musical.
Add in Ian Reddington, actor of note and well known to soap fans as ‘Vernon’ in Coronation Street and ‘Tricky Dicky’ in EastEnders and for those with longer memories, Leon Lopez who played Jerome Johnston in ‘Brookside’.
With over 20 songs, there is a limit on dialogue but Ben Elton’s script makes a lot of telling and witty comments on the state of the manufactured music industry in the 21st century. Having taken a swipe at all the tricks of the trade of music videos, it does give the production team licence to exploit all the multi-media available and your senses are engulfed with an amazing array of sounds and sights.
’We will rock you’ is set in 2046, a time when live music has been overtaken by computerised music and those in power want real music to be kept buried in the past. This is the tale of the dreamer who gets involved with the feisty ‘Scaramouche’ and helps the Bohemians escape the clutches of ‘Khashoggi’ played by the menacing Rhydian Roberts. There must be a joke there about the new Hibs manager but that might be lost on non-football fans.
Jenny Douglas first came to the notice of the public as she competed on TV for the part of ‘Dorothy’ in the ‘Wizard of Oz’. In what is her first role following the competition she has cast aside the gingham dress and become the rock chick Meat.
As a youngster, she may have dreamed about taking centre stage at the Edinburgh Playhouse and as they might say on the much maligned X-Factor - you nailed it girl!
Jenny may have a slender frame but she handles a number of vocals towards the end of the first-half like a seasoned professional while coping with the not inconsiderable demands of the choreography.
This show is all about the music of Queen and the cast backed by a great band and wonderful sound system does justice to the back catalogue supported by an energetic ensemble and all that wonderful lighting, video etc. Top drawer entertainment for the festive season at the Playhouse.
Runs to Saturday 7 January 2012, 7.30pm (matinees Wednesday & Saturdays 2.30pm)