We Will Rock You is an escape from reality

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We Will Rock You features (from left)  Jaz Flowers, Thern Reynolds, Erin Clare and Gareth Keenan. Photo: Jeff Busby
We Will Rock You features (from left) Jaz Flowers, Thern Reynolds, Erin Clare and Gareth Keenan. Photo: Jeff Busby

We Will Rock You
By Queen and Ben Elton
Sydney Lyric Theatre

It’s suggestive of fascist, Orwellian or some other totalitarian government. Individuality is forbidden.

Society, or what passes for it, lives in fear and dread of an an authoritarian regime which rules with a policy that excludes any form of creativity, especially in music, even banning musical instruments.

And it is music, perhaps more than other areas, which most faithfully reflects the history, aspirations and mores of a society.

<i>We Will Rock You</i> is set in the Ga Ga world of iPlanet, where originality is a crime and brainwashing is the norm.

This world has lost its history.

But there is a stirring among its outcasts, the ‘Bohemians’, rebels who have a jumbled collective knowledge of things past and a belief that there is a mighty axe, a guitar, waiting for a hero to break it loose from its burial spot on the planet.

Enter the seemingly aimless Galileo Figaro and his newly acquired partner, Scaramouche.

They will ally themselves with the Bohemians, whose names are grabbed from the tidbits of knowledge they have gleaned from the long lost world of Rock, names like Britney Spears, Oz (Ozzy Osbourne) and Buddy Holly and the Crickets.

Arraigned against them are the supreme ruler, Killer Queen, her henchman Khashoggi and their brain-dead minions.

All this provides a platform for a great session of Queen music, delivered at a pace with some changes to lyrics to suit the Ben Elton plot.

The opening lines of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody ask the questions: “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?”

Well, this is not real life.

It is a futuristic fantasy in which the forces of evil are confronted by the forces of good. And it is fun.

Can Galileo, Scaramouche and company overcome the misguided Killer Queen?

Is the mighty axe merely a myth or is it an Excalibur waiting to be pulled from the stone and turned into rock (music, that is)?

This is first class entertainment, raunchy without being offensive, driven by the music of Queen and spurred along by great performances from Britney (Thern Reynolds) and his co-conspirator Oz (Jaz Flowers), Galileo (Gareth Keenan), Scaramouche (Erin Clare), Buddy Holly and the Crickets (Brian Mannix, of the Uncanny X-Men) and Khashoggi (Simon Russell).

The only downer came from the sound levels which failed Casey Donovan (Killer Queen) in her opening songs and allowed the orchestra to overpower Galileo and Scaramouche in Hammer to Fall.

Otherwise highly recomnmended.

Runs until Sunday, 26 June.

Book online through Ticketmaster at ticketmaster.com.au or on 1300 795 267.