Bonkers and brilliant, We Will Rock You soars in a sell-out Mayflower

We Will Rock You
We Will Rock You

We Will Rock You, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, until January 25.

It would have to be something very special indeed to completely sell out a week-long run at the massive Mayflower for the first time in six years.

That something special is We Will Rock You, as bonkers and brilliant as ever, fabulous music served up by a fabulous cast and linked together by a hugely witty, inventive and utterly barking story by Ben Elton (who was apparently expected in the house tonight).

We are in a distant future where Queen are vaguely remembered as rock freedom fighters, where Bohemian Rhapsody is seemingly a myth, where the only music is computerised and where we all live our lives online… which of course makes it doubly funny when everyone whips out their phones in the interval.

Yea, verily, Mr Elton did indeed see into the future.

And into this world walks a rebel, a man who instinctively speaks in lines from songs and who can mysteriously hear music in his head. And then he finds a suitable rock chick. And then he links up with a group of fellow misfits harking after the raw, real pleasures of rock.

There is hope for the world.

It’s a barmy story never for a moment intended to be taken too seriously on the surface, but there’s just enough there to set you thinking… though you are quickly distracted by some terrific performances.

Elena Skye (Les Misérables / Kinky Boots) as Scaramouche gives the role all the sass it needs; and Michael McKell (Macbeth / Blood Brothers) is hilarious as a Jaggerish Buddy, an old rock roué baffled by the old rock relics which have been left behind.

But the night belongs to Ian McIntosh (Beautiful – The Carole King Musical / The Commitments) who is simply outstanding as Galileo, combining the surest of comic touches with a voice that does justice to the absolute classics he’s called on to sing.

Queen were big, brash, bold and gloriously over the top; Ben Elton has written a musical to match – and kept it wonderfully up to date in all its references.

The cast then do the rest. A great night at the theatre. Or should that be a great Night At The Opera? Either way, it’s terrific. And don’t despair. You’ve missed chance to see it in Southampton, but it’s coming to the Kings Theatre, Southsea for the week beginning June 8.

Compelling cinema as Just Mercy hits the screens

1917 offers mesmerising descent into the horrors of World War One

PAW Patrol Live! heads to Brighton

Why 2020 will be an important year for Chichester City Band

Jojo Rabbit offers great cinema start to the New Year

Epic trek marks 60th birthday