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We Will Rock You - Royal and Derngate Review

'The Show Must Go On' has been the anthem for theatre over the past two years and a stomping rendition closes the first act of the delayed UK and Ireland tour of We Will Rock You as it roars into Northampton at Royal and Derngate

The cast of We Will Rock You. Photo by Johan Persson

The Queen jukebox musical featuring some of the greatest music in rock delivers a storming unapologetically loud production. Ben Elton's book may not deliver the most riveting or complex of stories but with some timely refreshments to the script that add humour and keep it relevant. 

The show tells of a group of bohemians who are struggling to fight against the control of Globalsoft who have turned everyone into dressing, thinking and acting the same through their programming. The bohemians seek to restore freedom and live music, where musical instruments have been forbidden. 

For this 20th anniversary tour the show is stripped back. The staging design by Tim Blazdell is fairly bare bar the frame of stairs and the band on the upper balcony. Largely the backdrop is a giant video screen that portrays different scenery or video footage. Minimal props fill the stage but they're effective enough.

Kentaur's outlandish costumes and wig fit perfectly into the world of the show. It's easy to distinguish who is who and where they fit into the story. The bohemians are impressively outfitted, with some recognisably looking like the rock star names they have.

Undoubtedly the star of the show is the music of Queen. Its foot-tapping brilliance that's delivered by a world-class band of musicians under musical director Zachary Flis. It's big, noisy and whilst it does occasionally drown out the cast members it's never not a joy to listen to. Classic numbers such as 'We  Will Rock You', 'We Are The Champions' and the curtain call a storming rendition of 'Bohemian Rhapsody' fill the theatre and delight the audience.

The cast of We Will Rock You. Photo by Johan Persson

Ian McIntosh massively impresses as Galileo, his powerful vocals never miss a beat. Elena Skye matches perfectly as Scaramouche, together the pair form a formidable duo of vocals that soar.  

Michael McKell nails the old rocker vibe as Cliff and he is a warm presence in the madness of the show. Jennifer O'Leary's powerhouse vocals and command of the stage delight as Killer Queen, Adam Strong's Khashoggi also sprinkles his menace with dark humour and another fine voice. 

Duo David-Michael Johnson as Brit and Martina Ciabatti Mennell sadly don't get long to impress but leave a lasting impression. Mennell's delivery of 'No One But You (Only The Good Die Young)' is pitched just right. 

In an energetic ensemble special mention must go to Laura Bird who stands out in some small solo moments that she gets. 

Overall the show delivers a rockingly powerful evening of musical escapism. It's undeniably entertaining. The music remains the rockstar but with a fantastic cast and band, this is a show that deserves to live forever. Excellent pleasurable triumph.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

We Will Rock You continues at Royal and Derngate until Saturday 26th March. Tickets are available from The tour continues thereafter with dates available from

The cast of We Will Rock You. Photo by Johan Persson

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