|Out Of The Blue
Publications Association, LLC
Queen musical "We Will Rock You"
Music makes big noise, storyline bites a little dust
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Ruby Lewis and Brian Justin Crum in 'We Will Rock You.' | Paul Kolnik
P.J. Griffith in 'We Will Rock You.' | Paul Kolnik
The music of Queen was well-represented last night at the Palace Theatre in Columbus, but the storyline by Ben Elton
had a little mud on it's face, though it wasn't a big disgrace.
The packed house braving the frigid air to attend opening night of "We Will Rock You" often clapped along and sang
aloud during the rock musical that covered more than twenty classic Queen tracks including: "Radio Ga Ga,"
"Somebody To Love," "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," "Fat Bottomed Girls" and "We Are The Champions."
The brainwashing, controlling government storyline was somewhat unoriginal with sci-fi subtleties that mirrored the
writings of Bradbury, Vonnegut and Huxley. The plot takes place in the future where rock music is banned and main
character Galileo (Brian Justin Crum) rebels by following his dreams to bring back rock-and-roll and rid his planet of
its obsession with conformity and social networking. After being ordered by the government's Khashoggi (P.J. Griffith)
to be arrested because of his dreams, Galileo meets sassy, strong-willed Scaramouche, who takes consistent offense
at being called "chick." Galileo and Scaramouche eventually find commonalities as outcasts and fall in love.
Following mentions of the late Freddie Mercury and Elvis Presley, the two-act jukebox musical concludes at the
doors of Graceland with an electric guitar that exudes power like 'Excalibur,' but the unexpected role of 'King Arthur'
ends up being a crowd-cheering surprise.
In an often unsuccessful attempt to layer and smoothly transition the music of Queen into the plot, the script is full
of knee-slapping puns incorporating Queen lyrics that focus around "Bohemian Rhapsody" and the musical-titled
rock anthem. For pop culture gurus, comedy lines jabbing at pop music are abundant with references to mainstream
radio artists, including Miley Cyrus and twerking.
Ryan Knowles gave a stand-out comedic performance as Buddy, a psychedelic rock rebel with characteristics similar
to Ashton Kutcher's role in Dude, Where's My Car? A notable line: "Now I'm the roadie and the groupie, so that means
I have to have sex with myself?"
Galileo and Scaramouche's duets of "You're My Best Friend," "Under Pressure" and "Who Wants To Live Forever"
proved to be vocally strongest of the night. As for costumes, the colorful attire of the Bohemians (rock-and-roll rebels)
shinned and the most 'metal' looking costumes were worn by antagonistic character Killer Queen (Jacqueline B.
Arnold). The choreography of the government members was appropriately uniform and controlled like Devo or
Kraftwerk, whereas the moves of the rebels were more scattered and raunchy.
The seven-member backing live band supervised by original Queen member's Brian May and Roger Taylor and
conducted by Rick Hip-Flores was solid, as was the lighting, the towering band placement and LED screens; all of
which made it clear that the show's sound and stage approach will appease fans of theatrical rock concerts moreso
than regular Broadway musical attendees.
After all, this is Queen... we're here for the music, not the re-told story.
When: Through Sunday
Where: Palace Theatre, 34 W. Broad St., Columbus, Ohio 43215
Running Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes
Tickets: $28-$78 | Purchase