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Review: Bohemian Rhapsody, Theatre Royal Newcastle

WITH former G4 tenor Jonathan Ansell leading 25 star performers in celebration of Queen’s greatest songs, Bohemian Rhapsody was always going to offer interesting dynamics.

The cast of Bohemian Rhapsody
The cast of Bohemian Rhapsody

WITH former G4 tenor Jonathan Ansell leading 25 star performers in celebration of Queen’s greatest songs, Bohemian Rhapsody was always going to offer interesting dynamics.

Would Ansell – hardly your archetypal stadium rocker – and his cast be able to capture Queen’s on-stage spontaneity and flamboyance?

We Will Rock You and I Want It All were strong openers with the cast darting around the stage swathed in glam rock gear and beckoning the crowd to clap to the stomping beats.

This zeal continued for the next 15 minutes until the persistent energy became, well, a little too persistent.

Thankfully, Too Much Love Will Kill You offered a much-needed change of tempo with its beautifully refined harmonies.

I Want To Break Free was flawless and Andrew Derbyshire (whose CV features We Will Rock You and Joseph) was the perfect embodiment of Freddie Mercury’s showiness.

There seemed to be some off notes in Don’t Stop Me Now and Flash, which were perhaps down to first night nerves since the tour opened with this performance, and some of the dance routines were superfluous.

But Ansell excelled in Barcelona and Who Wants To Live Forever with his earnest delivery.

It was odd to watch a show that was neither a simple on-stage jukebox affair nor a full-blown musical, but rather a collection of performances without a linking story line.

It did, however, give the many Queen fans in the audience the chance to hear some of the band’s famous stadium-rock anthems.

We Are The Champions and Bohemian Rhapsody, not surprisingly, were the big hits, earning the cast a standing ovation.

Charlotte Krol

 
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