When a cast is given the name of the musical they will perform 24 hours before curtain-up, no-one should expect anything particularly special. When that cast is from the glorious Musical Theatre Society, the tables are turned. This rendition of ‘We Will Rock You’ was absolutely phenomenal. With a cast of 22, plus technical crew, choreographer, director, musical director, and a band, they kept the Union Concert Hall enthralled for nearly three hours.
‘We Will Rock You’ is a strange musical, and not one that I really believed everyone could appreciate. It’s a showcase of the music of Queen, held together by a storyline which was created to do just that. Unfortunately, even seen amongst the plots of its fellow musicals, this one for me is pretty tenuous, it’s all part of the fun but I’ve never thought there was something that could make you forget its artificiality.
It turns out there is something that can make you forget though. I don’t know if it’s because they hadn’t slept, but the raw energy of the cast kept the show moving like a bullet-train. A huge number of Queen’s songs are showstoppers, think ‘Killer Queen’, ‘Another One Bites the Dust’, ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, ‘We Will Rock You’, ‘We are the Champions’… etc. etc. etc.) but this show didn’t stop. With each song more visceral than the last, the audience’s Sunday-night lethargy was blasted out of them by the lungs and muscles of people who should have been recovering from inhuman exhaustion.
Being pushed to their physical limits didn’t stop the cast from keeping control of their highly choreographed movement and singing. There were some lines which hadn’t been learnt and it is to their credit that they managed not to break the illusion whilst prompting themselves with notes written on just about every prop they had. Some cast carried off these manoeuvres with musical hall aplomb while a couple were self-consciously happy to point out their failings. Although apparently at odds with the gusto of the genre, it worked to keep everyone laughing.
On a weekend when most of us were lamely pushing ahead with the revision schedule, these students created something spectacular. From a society that has proven time and again just what dedication and rehearsal can do for a performance came a showcase of the part that pure talent and energy play as well. It was genuinely brilliant regardless of the time taken to put on. If this exercise is repeated, I advise you not to miss out.
Galileo Robert Felstead
Scaramouche Katie Clemence
Killer Queen Shamini Bundell
Pop Sebastian Junemann
Khashoggi Al Norman
Meat Rebecca Jones
Brit Phil Raymond
Ensemble: Charlotte Ivison, Sanee Patel, Owain Jones, Christine Simpson, Oluwatosin Ajayi, Sophie Campen, Lucy Harrold, Michael Willmott, Barry Whiteside, Felix Millne, Holly Russell-Allison, John Wheatley, Philip Jackson, Tony Bannister, Yun William Yu.
Director: David Swain
Musical Director: Zoe Humphries
Choreographer: James Perry