The roulette table captures money as a result of a miscalculated guess on even to show red 15. Time taken reads a full minute with half an hour to spare for the walk up the spiral of stairs and stairs to the Grand Circle level of Star City's Lyric Theatre. We Will Rock You posters cover the windows and walls, a crowd gathers too close to each other breathing about as the call for seats is made. Melbourne's showing is looping on a few of the televisions bracketed to the wall and We Will Rock You gently buzzes the air.
Dead centre, a girl named Jennifer sells copies on copies of one of the shiniest programmes ever seen. Riding a wall near elevators is a stall selling T-shirts, mugs, caddies and albums. We Will Rock You, the musical featuring the hits of rock gods Queen weaved around a script by author/comedian Ben Elton, definitely on for the showing at 1845 on a Sunday night.
At the farthest seating row of the theatre, and on the top most elevation, the stage area seems rather cosy and fearfully deep-seated with the prospect of having to make out the shadows from underneath the over hanging curtains. Fears not particularly founded as it remains within a viewable scope and as the real lights and staging would show, more than enough to accommodate the performances. This is the back row and the first half of the performance before the intermission breaks out. Hardly anyone returns to their seats as they make waves toward the stage.
Earlier in the night one of the torch-happy ushers tried to hold them back but her voice is ignored for the most part. Closer to the railing sees a big headed man pulling a trick as his head expands to fill up an area unbound. The girth of his cranium only ruins the view for seconds at a time. This note marks the difference in the incline between rows on the rails and those at the back.
Fair warning is given at the nature of the production, with music played very loud and very live. Eardrums that crinkle from the start listen on as the disembodied vioce of Ben Elton tells the audience to put away their ring tones and bootlegging visual devices. From the start it is loud and the energy flows hard, fast and all throughout.
Set a few centuries in the future, We Will Rock You depicts a harrowing society undone by the moral decay of artistry suffering under the weight of homogenisation and the manufacturing of bland. Darkness fills the heart as the destruction of music created by the soul and the heart is signalled by the school of robotic clones that open the show.
Even from the distance of the upper seats, the faces of the singers are pretty clear. Clear enough to make out that tongiht's Galileo Figaro is taken by one of the understudies over from the main Michael Falzon. The programme lists either Adam Lubicz or Tamlyn Henderson as one of a couple of possible Galileos holding the stage. In the dark, squinted forehead analysis and a comparison of jawlines would suggest that it may very well be Henderson rocking with the leather jacket and a headful of lyrics bursting at the seams. With the hairstyle, and possibly the brow ridge, Galileo, champion of the rock, looks remarkably like Australian Idol's Rob Mills.
Kate Hoolihan, rock chick Scaramouche, takes on a mean guitar and if she's not really slashing that bad boy, she's playing one hell of an act. Annie Crummer, vamping as Killer Queen, throws back memories of watching the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers and their battles against that evil, evil Rita Repulsa.
Audience participation is slow to rev into full stadium gear. All the clapping of Radio Ga Ga triggered only a few people in and they were looked upon as peaking too early. More comes in the usual fare chanted by We Will Rock You and a sprinkle in Bohemian Rhapsody. Crazy Little Thing Called Love sees a few awkward moments as some think about it and then double back under a weight of consumption.
The entire cast perform a fantastically beautiful rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody that really captures the spirit of the song, obtuse lyrics and all. A large shot of the lyrics remain the same with only a few tweaks and changes made to suit the players in the game as well as the content of the musical's skeleton. Updates on the times also feature such as drops to the political climate and digital age.
Extremely narrow-scope songs such as Flash and Bicycle Race make an appearance and dart out just as soon as the crowd knows it.
One of the best performances seen in terms of both theatre and music. Magical to see the force of Queen's hit songs so wildly brought to life with a script and story that darts between the crude and the fairly dry.
Hit after hit, you can't help but feel spent by night's end.
"Hate buying tickets from Ticketek."
Reviewed on Monday, 11 October 2004