I was sad to hear that We Will Rock You will be closing, after 12 years as a mainstay of the West End theatre scene in London. Long time readers will know I was completely obsessed with this musical when it first came out, seeing it no less than five times in just a couple of years. I’m not a huge fan of the so-called “jukebox” musicals, but this one worked for me right from the start.
Clearly, being a fan of Queen’s music helped, but equally the story about outsiders pushing back and fighting against the sterotypes is one that can be taken to heart and learned from. More than all of that, though, it was just really a lot of fun.
Those in charge haven’t given a specific reason for the musical closing down, but I’ve heard less and less about its rocketing ticket sales and record-breaking status of late. I know that I, as a huge fan of the show, wouldn’t go and see it again, particularly since they introduced Curly Watts in the role of Pop!
Having seen the show evolve a little across just a few short years, for me, each time I saw it I was slightly less enamoured by it. The first two visits were the best – Tony Vincent, Hannah Jane Fox and Sharon D Clarke, with bonus Nigel Planer absolutely made it a joy to behold. The subsequent three times I visited saw one or more of the main cast replaced, the story adapted and, in the final trip, a main actor who struggled to stay in character.
I loved each of the five visits, but I wouldn’t have wanted to taint the original and best with any more.
That’s not to say that change is always bad. Evolving the story meant it remained fresh for repeat visitors, and keeping it up to date helped it stay relevant (considering it was about pop culture). For me, it just wasn’t what I wanted when I’d been spoiled by such a perfect first visit.
In the end, I stuck with my Original Cast Recording, listened to it over and over, and eventually got over the obsession. It sounds like that’s what everyone else is going to have to do now, too.