Queen - We Will Rock You

Civic Theatre, cnr of Queen Street & Wellesley Street West, Auckland

26/10/2007 - 11/10/2007

Production Details

Script: Ben Elton
Songs: Queen
Director: Ross Girven
Musical Director Bryan Schimmel
Vocal arrangers Brian May and Mike Dixon
Orchestral arranger Steve Sidwell

Design:: Richard Pacholski, based on original design by Willie Williams
Sound design: Michael Waters based on original design by Bobby Aitkin
Set by Mark Fisher
Costumes by Tim Goodchild

Technical supervision Ted Irwin
technical director Alistair Kilbee
International Choreographer Lisa O’Dea, resident choreographer Jill Somers
Video direction: Mark Fisher and Willie Williams

We Will Rock You, the musical by Queen and Ben Elton is an electrifying show that’s guaranteed to blow your mind.

We Will Rock You is an enormous multi million dollar musical featuring stunning costumes, sets and lighting. The multi talented international cast includes New Zealand’s pop princess Annie Crummer as the Killer Queen and rock star INXS finalist Miguel Ayesa, who reprises his West End success, in the starring role of Gallileo.

We Will Rock You is a futurist adventure set in the year 2350, a time when live music is banned on earth, but the kids are in rebellion, fighting against the all powerful Globalsoft Corporation which controls their lives and feeds them a diet of synthesized pop.

We Will Rock You features 24 of Queen’s legendary hits including ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘We Are The Champions’, ‘Radio Ga Ga’, ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ and ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’.

When: Friday, 26 October 2007 – Sunday, 11 November 2007

Where: The Civic, Auckland

Cost: Buy Tickets 0800 ticketek

Annie Crummer
MiG Ayesha
Neels Clasen
Stephen John Van Neikerk
Carly Graeme
Talia Kodesh
Malcolm Terrey

Theatre , Musical ,

Killer Queen Crummer heads stellar cast

Review by Kate Ward-Smythe 29th Oct 2007

Queen fans all over New Zealand will be on their feet screaming for more when they go to We Will Rock You as essentially this loud high energy rock musical is a showcase for the glam band’s greatest hits.

While Ben Elton’s script provides a simple story of a futuristic world, where musical instruments, writing lyrics and any other sort of creative individualism has been outlawed by "Globalsoft’s" mass marketing and monolithic grip on all music, his tale is little more than a convenient device to move us from hit to hit.

And why not? The music and lyrics of Queen are so operatic and dramatic in sentiment and scale; they are the perfect fit for this genre. The opening night audience didn’t mind Elton’s digestible tale full of easily recognisable characters one little bit, and was highly appreciative of this expensive production, taking every opportunity to interact, clap and sing along. The capacity crowd leapt to their feet not once, but twice, as silver confetti snowed down on us all, during the final company bow.

While the vast majority of the crowd was swept away by this epic Queen revival extravaganza, a few in the audience did sit perplexed and slightly alarmed by the tide of hype around them. Brief eye contact and raised eyebrows seemed to indicate something along the lines of "goodness me, not my cup of tea, no room for subtlety here huh…. But gosh, who are we to argue with this happy crowd?"

I was wholeheartedly impressed by the: smooth technical wizardry (technical supervision Ted Irwin and technical director Alistair Kilbee); heroic rock concert lighting, including the impressive use of trussing and ‘audience blinders’ in the design (Richard Pacholski, based on original design by Willie Williams); largely note-perfect executions of Queens’ originals, thanks to an exceptional band and cast under the guidance of Musical Director Bryan Schimmel, Vocal arrangers Brian May and Mike Dixon* and orchestral arranger Steve Sidwell); world-class sound design, (Michael Waters based on original design by Bobby Aitkin), which is especially evident in One Vision and Bohemian Rhapsody; expansive set (Mark Fisher) and flamboyant costumes (Tim Goodchild).

Even though some of the ensemble’s choreography is predicable, occasionally detracting from the main performer, as in Another One Bites the Dust, (International Choreographer Lisa O’Dea, resident choreographer Jill Somers), the video direction is fairly obvious (Mark Fisher and Willie Williams) and the direction overall is quite heavy-handed (Ross Girven), the entire production proudly screams glam-rock and Queen forever.

Performance-wise, Annie Crummer, playing the Killer Queen, is an absolute stand out. She is every bit the rock diva required for the role, channelling the best of Tina Turner’s on stage strut and vocal cut, but also devouring the chance to grab Queen’s classic hits, and make them unmistakably her own. Her massive range and exquisite vocal control, in particular in Now I’m Here, is stunning, and in Fat Bottomed Girls she takes singing to a level of vocal gymnastics. Taking full control of the stage, at one point throwing in a pukana, it is a pleasure to see her triumph in front of her home crowd.

MiG Ayesha, playing the young hero, Galileo, is the ideal leading man. Pitch perfect with strong vocal attack; he delivers. Neels Clasen is impressive in stature and character, but is no vocal match for Crummer in It’s A Kind Of Magic. Stephen John Van Neikerk is highly entertaining playing one of the ‘bohemians’, Britney. He’s all cave man muscle and brawn, milking every chance to show off his talents and inject comedy into the role. Fellow bohemian Carly Graeme holds her own next to him, and like Talia Kodesh, who plays Scaramouche, is a strong singer. Both women are well capable of hitting big long hero notes when it’s their turn in the limelight. Hippie dude Pop, played by the very likable Malcolm Terrey, provides good comedy in the second half, and the ensemble make a big visual impact, especially when they appear in their tight white pants and mini skits.

*Mike Dixon is also Music Supervisor


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