We Will Rock You @ Crown Theatre
Saturday, October 31, 2020
We Will Rock You is a jukebox musical that celebrates the music of British rock band Queen, based on a book written by comedian Ben Elton. The show follows a group of bohemians trying to uncover the secret, hidden history of rock and roll in a new world overrun by technology and conformity. Platinum Entertainment is a WA-based performance company co-owned and run by husband and wife team Trevor and Katrina Patient. They’ve produced a number of successful shows around Western Australia including Cats the Musical, Jesus Christ Superstar, and an earlier production of We Will Rock You in 2018.
We Will Rock You is not only an ambitious and extremely high-energy production, but the Crown stage raises the stakes exponentially. The crowd buzzed with excitement and trepidation as the auditorium filled with people, with this evening being one of the first nights of live theatre to this capacity being permitted since restrictions were eased. When the low rumble from the band began and the curtains raised, the crowd let out a roaring cheer and the energy was palpable. They were first drawn into the world created by a global corporation, “Globalsoft,” a world full of pop music, futuristic space outfits, and (please imagine the longest and most dramatic gasp here) an obsession with technology and social media.
An impressively dressed ensemble performed a rendition of Queen’s Radio Gaga in a hypnotising, almost robotic synchronisation. The dancers were comprised of a phenomenal local cohort who worked together and matched energy beautifully. It was paired with sharp and bold choreography by Una Genuino, delivered with a hip hop level of rigidity, that brought a robotic flare to each character living in the Globalsoft world.
Dakota Leak, Michele Gould, and Saolin Naidoo were stand-out dancers amongst a very high calibre group. The show then introduced two characters who didn’t fit in amongst the gaga-gaggle: Galileo Figaro and Scaramouche. The two bond over their seemingly jarring ideals and imaginations that lead them to wonder if there is more out there than (another dramatic gasp) social media and pop music.
Blake Williams, who plays leading man Galileo Figaro, is like an Australian Ethan Slater, and his stunning vocal quality and endearingly clumsy characterisation were reminiscent of (go with me on this) a charismatic Spongebob if he had pursued a career in rock and roll. Williams broke the monotony of a well-known character by bringing a level of sincerity and goofiness to a character arc that saw him grow in confidence.
Holly Denton is a pocket rocket Scaramouche with the voice of a 1980s rock goddess and the sass of a grounded 15-year-old girl. Denton is a truly phenomenal performer and everything from her physical characterisation to the small mannerisms she gave to Scaramouche garnered incredible reactions from the audience she had completely won over from the first word she sang.
The Globalsoft corporation baddies, Killer Queen (who wants everyone to sing only what she tells them to) and her offsider Khashoggi were possibly the most loveable villains imaginable. Killer Queen was played by the queen of the jungle herself, Casey Donovan, who was the only interstate cast member in a show full of Perthians. Donovan was flawless. Her vocals, her power and her costumes made for an amazing individual performance. It wasn’t difficult to understand why a cult of technology-obsessed people fulfilled her every wish. Dean Misdale played Khashoggi with impeccable comedic timing and biting wit which complemented Donovan’s powerful Killer Queen beautifully. Their stage chemistry made them an indomitable duo.
The audience became acquainted with a number of well-balanced and well-performed characters throughout Galileo and Scaramouche’s journey, particularly when they find and join the bohemian rebellion. Stand-out performances came from Clay Darius and Paula Parore who played nomadic, bohemian duo “Britney Spears” and “Ozzy Osbourne.” The two had a killer chemistry and outstanding voices that won the crowd over. Another crowd favourite was Matt Dyktynski, who played leader of the bohemian rebels Buddy. He was like that guy you always see down at the pub who has an endless supply of stories to share and always shouts you a beer.
Musical highlights included Denton’s performance of Somebody to Love, Denton and Williams’ show-stopping duet of Who Wants to Live Forever and Casey Donovan’s powerful rendition of Fat Bottomed Girls. All songs were expertly refined by musical director Joe Louis Robinson, who with his outstanding conductor and band tackled some of rock and roll’s most difficult feats like they were no big deal.
We Will Rock You was a startling success and the audience laughed, clapped and cheered throughout. Sometimes the sheer number of dancers on stage at one time, or their formation of standing in a line across the front of the stage, distracted one from the story briefly, but points for improvement were few and far between in this show.
Platinum Entertainment’s We Will Rock You is the perfect night out for lovers of Queen and musical theatre who want to belly-laugh, sing along to their favourite tunes, and be entertained by an extremely talented cohort of performers. Everyone involved should be extremely proud of their performances and contribution to a truly impressive production.