Reviewed by Allison Thomas
It’s not easy to play and sing the iconic, charismatic Freddy Mercury, but Inman Saleh has the voice range to sing the songs, which he did very well.
As usual in the Arts Theatre, the musical accompaniment was often louder than the singing and we missed some of the words to the songs. This did not detract from the energy and enthusiasm of the whole cast of talented singers, actors and dancers in the show. I love Queen and know many of the words to the songs, and I heard the echoes of others singing as well. Sometimes we were encouraged by the singers to sing and clap and wave our arms, which was great audience participation!
There was lots of great comedy, especially with Ben Elton’s script, and often lines were titles of famous songs. The names of the “bohemians” were also clever and funny – eg Katy Perry, Aretha and Mick Jagger! The visual gags were there too – the matrix in the background movie projection and the spelling and pronunciation of certain words eg “choon” “anti-social media” and video tappe!
It was Danielle Greaves’ Scaramouche that stood out as the best voice for me – she had the sassy attitude of an intelligent Goth “chick” and her songs were strong and confident. Anthony Butler as Brit and Kathryn Driver as Oz were also outstanding singers dancers and lovers.The roles of Killer Queen by April Stuart and Khashoggi played by James McCluskey-Garcia were very challenging to the actors as they had to be SO evil, and belt out their songs and orders.
I loved the way-out costumes, makeup, wigs and hairdos by Sue Winston, Sarah Williams and the cast; which reflected the whole sexy energetic ensemble, who all played multiple roles. Matt Byrne was a great big hippy as Buddy, the leader of the “bohemians”, as well as producer director and designer. The Musical Director Kim Clark, and Fat Bottom Band provided an excellent accompaniment, and we all especially loved Patrick Maher’s electric guitar solo. Great lighting by Mike Phillips, Rodney Bates and Ian Barge. The visual and special effects were amazing, except that at times there was too much dry ice – at one time the whole theatre was full of “smoke”! Choreography by Sarah Williams. And too many other people involved in this great production to name!
The Opening Night audience loved it, in spite of a few missed lines and tangled hair mishaps, and you will too! So go and see it at Arts or Shedley Theatre this month in July!