Review: We Will Rock You, Edinburgh Playhouse

Brian May joins the cast for Bohemian Rhapsody
Brian May joins the cast for Bohemian Rhapsody
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*****

IT may have a synopsis that could be written on the back of a guitar plectrum, but the storyline of We Will Rock You matters little when layered with the music, lighting and performances.

Set in a future where live music and musical instruments are banned, an unlikely group of misfits sets off on a quest to discover the truth behind the legend of a mythical band called Queen. It’s the perfect opportunity to deliver 25 Queen classic hits – and a few laughs – as live music battles the evils of a soulless, virtual world.

It also offers the freedom for some incredibly talented performers to display their abilities. The high standard was set by Galileo (Noel Sullivan) and Scaramouche (Amanda Coutts) with their opening number, I Want to Break Free.

Ensuring that the no-live-music laws were adhered to, Khashoggi (Rhydian Roberts, who came to public notice as a finalist on ITV’s X Factor) is superb, sometimes strutting, sometimes cowering, but always oozing a twisted nastiness. He demonstrated his considerable vocal talents with songs such as A Kind of Magic and Seven Seas of Rye.

The performers were aided by outsized video screens, choreography as tight as a rusted wing nut, and a lighting set that wouldn’t look out of place at a stadium gig.

Hardly surprising then, that as the show neared its finish the audience was baying to join in. And join in they did. The packed venue took to its feet as the whole thing became a massive clap-and-sing-along with We Will Rock You and We Are the Champions. It really couldn’t get any wilder than that – except it did.

As Bohemian Rhapsody reached its climax, legendary Queen guitarist Brian May stepped into the spotlight and let rip on his cherry red guitar. Rarely – if ever – has The Edinburgh Playhouse seen a reaction like it. It was a special – and oddly moving – moment.

We Will Rock You is a stunning show, delivered by an accomplished cast. A packed programme that leaves the songs in your head and a smile on your face. For hours.

Runs until January 7