We Will Rock You

Matthew DunlopDrama Productions

‘Shooting Stars, Leaping Through the Sky’ at Limavady Grammar School’s production of ‘We Will Rock You’!

‘We Will Rock You’… written by Ben Elton (and featuring more than twenty of ‘Queen’s’ fabulous hit singles) is set in the future, in a vaguely Orwellian World, where live music has died and instruments have been banned. On the ‘iPlanet’, mainstream commercial conformity reigns… the ‘Ga Ga Kids’ watch the same movies, listen to the same computer-generated music, wear the same clothes, and hold the same thoughts and opinions. ‘Galileo Figaro’ and ‘Scaramouche’, our two leaders, go on a quest alongside a group of rebels called ‘The Bohemians’ in an attempt to overthrow ‘The Global soft Corporation’ and its boss, ‘The Killer Queen’ (half-human, half-droid) and help establish a New World where rock music can thrive again!

This isn’t the easiest of productions to stage, especially when you have a cast of over fifty pupils (yes – that’s right: over fifty!) to consider, but the talented and creative production team of Mary O’Brien (Director), Derek Collins (Musical Director) and Zoe Kyte (Choreographer) never put a foot wrong. This team knew exactly what they wanted from this musical and how to achieve it… and with a wealth of talent to choose from, they delivered yet another knockout performance for which Limavady Grammar School is renowned. Supported by a superb Technical backstage team under the guidance of Jill Cupples (Stage Manager) and audio visuals provided by ‘EventAV’, every word was crystal clear, every lyric shone through, and the minimalist set enabled the cast to fill the stage with jaw dropping acrobatics and precise set routines.

But what about that Cast? Judging from the smiles on the faces of each and every cast member, from the energy that poured out from that stage, it was obvious that the seventy plus young people involved were giving us their all whilst having the time of their young lives and, let’s face it, there really is very little more you can ask! This is not the time to start selecting the ‘show stopping’ performances: I simply can’t select one or two! This show was superbly cast.

We had seven principal characters: three ‘couples’ and an ‘ageing rock star/’60s ’ librarian… Our leads ‘Galileo Figaro’ and ‘Scaramouche’ played by Oscar McMichael and Mollie Hawthorne respectively, were simply outstanding. Confident, assured, full of energy, great stage presence and some absolutely killer moves, Oscar left nothing on the stage: this guy is a real talent who wouldn’t be out of place on a professional stage. Mollie’s portrayal of ‘Scaramouche’, the misfit, the outsider, cynical but with a razor sharp wit, was engrossing. The audience loved her. She handled the one liners and challenging vocal range of her songs with ease – a real natural talent!

‘Oz’ and ‘Brit’ played by Jay Lapsley and Scott Hawthorne respectively, absolutely blew me away – a rock chick who can deliver the incredibly difficult but achingly beautiful vocal of ‘No One But You’? Yes please, Jay! Awesome performance! A tough dude with a heart of gold, but a killer voice just made for rock ‘n’ roll? Scott – you nailed it! The stage presence these two had was immense!

Holly Deane made the role of the ‘Killer Queen’ her own. This young lady is most definitely the Complete Package when it comes to performance – a vocal capability that dazzles just as much as her ability to dance. And tap dance. Yes, her rendition of ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ was inspired – and effortless in its execution. In fact, that entire ‘fluorescent scene’ was chilling, and a reminder of how clever choreography and astute lighting can produce the most amazing of effects.

‘Khashoggi’, Police Commander and the Killer Queen’s right hand man, looked good, moved well and was suitably despised by all who witnessed his chilling treatment of the GaGa kids and the Bohemians. Philip Carton used every inch of his height to dominate the stage and send shivers down the audience’s spines. In contrast, we all loved Leo Collins’s sympathetic and comedic portrayal of the ageing rocker, ‘Buddy’. Both boys delivered great performances and were completely comfortable in their roles.

The chorus of GaGa clones, Teen Queens, Bohemians, Doctors and Police Officers generously supported their principal characters with flair. Precision dance moves and oh-so-slick routines were a joy to watch – not one foot wrong anywhere! Focus and dedication and the obvious long hours of rehearsals definitely paid off, and it was an absolute joy to see ALL ages involved, from year 8s to year 14s – bravo! Hats off to the Backstage teams of Costumes, Props., and Hair and Make Up – everything gelled; everything looked wonderful. You all played an integral role in this fantastic production, and you can hold your heads high.

Undoubtedly, Ben Elton’s aim in creating this musical was to showcase the Queen songbook, and rightly so. However, it takes skill and more than a little ‘chutzpah’ to do it justice, and the Band did exactly that. It was just fantastic to see the involvement of so many young people in all sections of the Band, ably supported by staff, and you certainly breathed life into the music of Messrs. Mercury, May, Deacon and Taylor. They would be impressed!

I knew I’d enjoy LGS’s production of ‘We Will Rock You’, and I wasn’t disappointed: I didn’t expect to be completely blown away by it, but I most absolutely was! In fact, it blew my mind and then some… You deserved every minute of your four standing ovations. There is little doubt that the future of Dramatic and Musical productions in LGS is secure to say the least!