I seem to recall someone telling me that We Will Rock You was going to be Samuel Ward Academy’s ‘biggest and most ambitious’ production yet, well, they were not wrong.
A dazzling display of lighting kicked into action and the music struck up as the opening scene with the hilarious Pop (Peter Hampford - who made every line hilarious) unfolded at the school’s drama hall last Wednesday (April 2).
Such was the clamour for parts in the musical that the school had to have a Cast A and Cast B, each of which gave two performances in what was a four night run. I saw Cast B.
Ben Elton’s musical has proved a smash West End hit since it opened 11 years ago and, as the title suggests, is packed full of songs by Queen.
In essence, the story is set on Planet Mall in 2304, a time when all music is manufactured and everyone dresses the same and thinks the same - and live music is banned by the all powerful Global Soft, run by the despotic Killer Queen (played by Jessica Bush).
Fighting this oppression is a resistance movement of rebel Bohemians, who believe that one day they will be freed from Global Soft’s tyranny by a saviour they know as The Dreamer.
Step forward Galileo Figeroa (Henry Etherington), who it transpires is the hero they had been waiting for, and his fellow lead, Scaramouche (Irna Bridle), another outsider who longs for a world in which self-expression through music is allowed.
The two set about their bid to free Planet Mall from the grip of the Killer Queen and her equally sinister and malevolent - yet disturbingly comical - head of security Commander Kashoggi, portrayed by Jacob McGuire.
The quest results in Scaramouche and Gazza (as she nicknames him) being found by the Bohemians, the main players of which seem to be Britney Spears (Charley Cooke) and Meatloaf (Emily Adams).
I could give the rest of the story away, but for those who want to see it and find out what happens for themselves I wont.
Suffice to say that along the way there are plenty of stomping tunes - name a Queen song and it was there - some great choreography and lots of comedy.
The two leads seemed to work very well together, bouncing quips off each other, and Irna’s vocal range really impressed me, as did her natural acting ability. She can certainly belt out a tune.
It was the first live show for Cast B but they had been so well prepared by director/musical director Matt Russell that just a couple of moments of uncertainty were to be seen.
The show’s penultimate song saw the entire cast performing We Are The Champions. They certainly were that.