We Will Rock You. The Dominion Theatre, London. April 2014.
Some of my earliest musical memories are of Queen songs and they are a band that as a child we all liked as a family. Watching their turn on Live Aid in 1985 was fantastic and I remember how sad we all were when Freddie died.
We Will Rock You the musical opened in 2002 and my sister saw it in previews, unlike the critics she loved it and over time all of the family has been to see it several times. My sister and I went to the special concert performed on what would have been Freddie's 60th Birthday and we know all of the words to the dialogue as well as the songs. However somewhere along the lines we fell a little out of love with it and autumn 2010 was the last time we went.
On hearing that it was closing on 31st May this year we instantly started checking our diaries to see if one last visit together was going to be possible and luckily time and prices worked in our favour.
I'm not sure if the gap in visits made the difference, or if there is just more energy at an evening show than a matinee, but I for one fell in love all over again. Sure the plot is creaky and daft but the execution is outstanding. There have been lots of little changes over the years - to me the gags seemed less obviously written by Ben Elton but at the same time not quite as funny. As the musical was always set in the future somethings have caught up with the original gags and lines have been changed to reflect this - no one really had Twitter or Facebook in 2002 and the iPod/iPhone really didn't dominate like it does now. Some lines have been changed to fit these in and generally they do work. My sister was very pleased that her favourite line about Armani/M&S was still there.
For me the music always worked because different people sang the original Queen songs, no one person tried to reach all of Freddie's range and this was still true, however the Galileo we saw wasn't 100% convincing as an 18 year old school leaver thanks to the start of the bald spot that was visible from the circle. My one disappointment was the start of the second act which used to start so powerfully with the percussion line from One Vision no longer does. A small niggle.
On the whole I can see why the show is closing. The theatre really does need some work doing to it, and by all accounts on many nights it is not full but I am so pleased that I did see it once more and that I had such a good time. Of course I'll buy a cast DVD should one be produced but it won't be the same...