Note: I did not take any of the pictures in this article, with the exception of the above image. They are all screenshots from the “We Will Rock You” website located here. Also, the actors in these images are not necessarily the actors in the show I saw. In fact, I KNOW many of them are different. Because I saw it in Philadelphia and not the fucking U.K. Also, there was an understudy playing the male lead (essential "Freddie Mercury's" role.) Okay, moving on.
I’ve loved Queen since high school, admittedly. More specifically, I love Brian May and the way he makes a guitar melody absolutely sing. I received tickets for christmas to “We Will Rock You”, a.k.a, the Queen Musical, whose final show was tonight at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia.
Of course, this blog is usually going to be used to highlight my illustration and graphic design, but once in a while something so extraordinary happens to me that I have to put the pen to paper and write about it. This extraordinary event was the extraordinarily bad show, “We Will Rock You.”
Keep in mind as you read this review, tickets are over $100.00 for this event.
One-hundred AMERICAN dollars.
MUSIC - 1 2 3.5 4 5
Ok, we can all agree that Queen is awesome. The pit band was amazing, and all members of pit did a great job at rocking out to the classics featured in the show. However, the female leads largely overshadowed their male counterparts in both vocal talent AND stage presence.
At one point the male lead role was SO off-key at the end of "We are the Champions" that I had to look over to my boyfriend and fact-check life. Indeed, yes, he was singing that note and it was piercing. And WRONG!
WRITING - 1.5 2 3 4 5
This is without a doubt the worst aspect of the musical, and what drove me to write my-nay-BECOME a critic just for this play! There was basically only one written joke in the show, and the basic set-up is as follows:
Character 1: "Stop being a dick! Do you want me to HIT YOU?"
Character 2: *sings* "HIT ME BABY ONE MORE TIME!"
*Audience laughs because THEY RECOGNIZE THAT TITLE OF THAT SHITTY ASS SONG THAT'S NOT EVEN A "ROCK N' ROLL" SONG!*
Essentially, every joke was just a line in which a character curved the dialogue to include a song title, or lyric. The audience laughs at this because, hey, you WANT EVERYONE to know that YOU KNOW THAT SONG.
Keep in mind the above song is a Britney Spears song. It is not rock n' roll. However, the director loves Britney Spears so much he even named a main character after her:
That character on the left? That's Britney Spears. Oh, did I mention it's the future? Sorry, I should be saving this all for the character section. Oh boy, I can't wait.
AESTHETICS - 1 2.5 3 4 5
The costumes were okay, going for a very much glam-rock-pop-punk look, which is, most of all, disappointing. They made it seem like Queen's aesthetic was the love child of David Bowie and "The Clash," whom Rick and I got compared to by a square-looking mom because I was sitting next to a punk. Yes, really. She really rolled her eyes and said "Oh, great, looks like we are sitting next to The Clash."
I use the term "punk" loosely. I also use the word disappointing loosely.
Apparently, when you live in a dystopian future world and you are "different," you are still able to get ahold of metallic moon boots. REALLY!? Oh ps, these are the people the female lead (pictured above) is so different from:
...and they are all called GAGAs.
CHARACTER - 1 2 3 4 5
No arcs, developments, or anything. The two leads even sleep together (on his leather jacket,) and then get in an explosive argument the next day about literally nothing. Then they are fine. I felt like the writers had to create conflict because the villain, pictured below, had 0 range of emotions or desires. She only had one face, and it was mean.
If you are wondering about the 3 people pictured above on the bike, I was too. That amazing stage blocking decision came after a series of not one, but 3 boner jokes. It was actually one of the few times I laughed during the show, and I am not proud of it.
I honestly don't know what boner jokes you could make about this costume, but I am sure someone will think of one.
So, Rick noticed that "Bohemian Rhapsody" was not listed in the program as a song they were going to perform. I said "Well, they are going to do it as an encore. Don't worry." And oh, they did.
After almost 3 hours of hearing how important it is to be "rock" and "anti establishment," "stickin' it to the man," You'd think that one person would have a lighter on them to light during Bohemian Rhapsody.
Well it turns out that one person did. One person other than myself.
...for 4 seconds.
Only that one guy joined me for 4 seconds. Not one other "I am head-banging while sitting down in the Academy of Music" person thought to bring a lighter to the QUEEN SHOW.
The cast did a pretty good job, but alas, my disappointment now lies within my fellow audience. Even the members of the Clash next to me were only chewing Nicorette to ensure not missing any of the show.
Also a major irony in the production was that the whole theme of the show was to break free of the technology that takes over our daily lives, in the form of Twitter (apparently, still used in the future, even though the lead "STILL has no followers.") The curtain for intermission fell on deaf ears; for as soon as the cast was done singing the morals of living life to the fullest, and avoiding the technology that invades every aspect of our lives, the 40, 50, and 60 somethings watching the show were ALL ON THEIR PHONES playing candy crush.
Keep in mind we are in the Academy of Music:
...and its fucking gorgeous. But no, candy crush is a lot more important. Stare at that instead of the amazing art all around you. Hope you get more lives soon.
Even though I have written a scathing review, I actually had a great time tonight. I got to hang out with my boyfriend, have some fun, at a show, and I even got a couple free drinks after the show because of a generous friend who works at a bar nearby.
I wouldn't recommend the show to a friend, however. If you want to save yourself $100, check out this video instead. It's an amazing performance everyone should see to really appreciate the beauty and mastery of music that was Queen. That's all we need!
Sorry that people just don't get it, Freddie. Isn't it a bummer?