We Will Rock You | The Fabulous Fox Theatre

We-Will-Rock-You 75This production was plucked straight from the cornfield.

 

Suspend your disbelief for a moment and imagine a world with no rock ‘n’ roll, with no instruments, and with no live music performances. Instead, there is only pop-sounding, mechanical mumbo-jumbo downloaded directly to you and everyone else on the planet. I’m talking some high-pitched, obnoxious noise. If you’re like the “Bohemians,” in We Will Rock You, you’ll want to rebel and fight the uniformity. Otherwise, how will you ever achieve rhapsody?

Featuring the music of Queen, Ben Elton’s rock theatrical We Will Rock You transports its audience to such a dystopia, 300 years into the future. The Internet is no longer merely a tool, it’s a way of life. The robotic, chipper people of this world spend every waking moment plugged into the World Wide Web.

In the midst of their peers, Galileo (Brian Justin Crum) and Scaramouche (Ruby Lewis) stick out like sore thumbs. Galileo doesn’t know who he is, but decided on his name after hearing it in a dream. He hears song fragments from the past and can sing through them so quickly it’s like someone is flipping stations on the radio. (There is a lot of fun and laughs to be had at his eclectic, cultural mash-ups). Scaramouche makes her own clothes and snarkily declares that the “GaGa girls” think she is a lesbian because she doesn’t wear enough pastels, favoring black and slightly baggy clothes. She too tends to break into songs that the majority of her peers are unaware ever existed.

The villainous governmental figures Killer Queen (Jacqueline B. Arnold) and Khashoggi (P.J. Griffith) get wind of the two and have them arrested immediately as a danger to their online utopia. Killer Queen is more or less the equivalent of an incredibly intimidating computer virus, who is not fully human. Her extremely sexualized, character provides the play’s most derogatory content. Essentially, she’s presented like a dominatrix.

Around this time the audience is introduced to the couple Oz (Erica Peck) and Brit (Jared Zirilli), who, as Bohemians, look like they just stepped out of an ‘80s rock concert. They’re part of an underground rock movement and have some knowledge and relics of the past, though they do not fully understand what they were used for. Examples of this include a television and a videotape, which the Bohemians incorrectly pronounce vi-day-e-o-tapie. Their blissful ignorance is made clear by the fact that Brit, who is an extremely muscular, long-haired man has named himself Brit after Brittney Spears. (Oz, his girlfriend, is representing Ozzy Osbourne).

The Bohemians are stationed at an abandoned Hard Rock Café and are awaiting a special person to lead them to what they believe is the last instrument in existence. Upon seeing runaways Galileo and Scaramouche, Brit realizes that Galileo is the man they’ve been waiting for. However, like the Internet we all know and love today, its an easily monitored world they live in, so timeliness is of the essence if the Bohemians hope to restore rock ‘n’ roll before their memories are wiped out entirely.

As my boyfriend commented during intermission, this production was plucked straight from the cornfield. It’s clever, but in a quirky way, and it’s humor and sensational music will help you overlook the plot, which actually has very little substance. We Will Rock You features 24 Queen hits, including “Under Pressure,” “Another One Bites the Dust,” and, of course, “We will Rock You” and “We are the Champions.” Also — and this is one of my favorite fun facts from the show — We Will Rock You is the first time “Bohemian Rhapsody” has ever been performed in its entirety live onstage, not even Queen ever did so due to its complexity. So, don’t be in too big of a hurry to run out to your cars when you think the show is over.

My only complaint about this production is that each time Killer Queen performed, I could not make out the words over the band’s music. It’s a loud show, which is the only way to do Queen right, but it’s unfortunate when the music is so loud that the famous lyrics being sung on stage are lost — this is especially unlucky if, like me, you’re not entirely familiar with all of the songs in the show. Also, if you’re sensitive to pyrotechnics, beware of some of the lighting used in the opening sequence. It’ll blind and disorient. Other than that, I suggest giving “Bohemian Rhapsody” a listen before you come, if you haven’t heard it in a while, and be prepared for some crowd participation. Their intention truly is to rock you! | Megan Washausen

We Will Rock You runs through Sunday, March 30. Visit http://www.fabulousfox.com for ticket information.

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