Tag Archives: Michael McKell

REVIEW: We Will Rock You – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

From a rocky start in 2002, We Will Rock You has defied critical backlash to become one of the UK’s best-loved musicals. Seen by over 6.5 million people it ran for 4600 performances at the Dominion Theatre in the West End, where the famous gold statue of Freddie Mercury guarded the patrons from his perch high above the entrance. This revived, re-designed and re-energised new touring production is even better than the original and boasts a cast of such quality, it is impossible not to be completely won over.

Set in a dystopian future, it’s 2310, and music has been outlawed. All thought is controlled by Globalsoft Corporation, and life is lived entirely on the internet. There’s no place for originality or free spirit. A rag-tag band of free-thinking ‘Bohemians’ set out to find the last surviving musical instrument on the planet and bring back the mythical ‘Rock and Roll’. That the subject matter is treated with complete knowingness, with its tongue placed firmly in its cheek, is one of its greatest strengths. The laughs in Ben Elton’s script come thick and fast.

However, it’s the music and in particular, the spectacular cast’s delivery of it that makes this production unmissable. As our hero Galileo Figaro, Olivier-nominated Ian McIntosh is an absolute standout, there aren’t enough superlatives to describe his outstanding voice and stunning range. As Scaramouche, Elena Skye is a wise-cracking wonder with fabulous vocals. TV regular Michael McKell provides the lion’s share of the comedy, bringing genuine belly laughs and impressive vocals as Buddy Holly, Amy Di Bartolomeo is also a memorable Oz. One small crimp in the evening is Jenny O’Leary as Killer Queen whose vocals are quite frankly messy, only exacerbated by the fact that these songs are world famous and her co-stars are at the top of their game. That said, the positives overwhelm any negatives.

If it’s an uplifting, feel-good night, with the music of Queen, a crazy, fun story, delivered by a world-class cast you want, then I’d beg, borrow or steal a ticket to this warm-hearted wonder of a show.

Runs until 28 December 2019 | Image: Johan Persson

Originally written for The Reviews Hub

REVIEW: Peter James’ Dead Simple – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

There’s something satisfying about a good old theatrical thriller that drags you to the edge of your seat and keeps you there until the curtain falls. And that’s what Shaun McKenna achieves in his second adaptation of a Peter James crime novel: following on the heels of last year’s audience pleaser A Perfect Murder this time it’s Dead Simple.

Beginning with a stag night prank gone horribly wrong, property developer Michael Harris finds himself buried six feet under in a remote forest, the only people who know his whereabouts, dead in a car crash. What follows are dodgy dealings, a trawler full of red herrings and a plot that leads you up more garden paths than the Chelsea Flower Show.

The cast of well-known TV faces on the whole serve up solid performances, stand out among them Josh Brown’s well-measured turn as Davey a young man with learning difficulties and an obsession for US TV cop shows, a young man whose tenuous link to reality could mean life or death for Harris, and Gray O’Brien as our slightly less than by-the-book hero Det. Supt. Roy Grace.


Michael Taylor’s multi-level set design, Mark Howett’s lighting and Martin Hodgson’s sound design give the production a televisual feel and serve to crank up the suspense.

Whilst it’s undeniably entertaining and thoroughly engaging, the plot tests the bounds of credibility: no sooner has one suspect been exposed than another looms centre-stage, it also doesn’t stand up to more than the briefest surface scrutiny. The characterisations too, are bordering on two-dimensional and the dialogue is simplistic and at times a tad clunky. However, for all its faults it still serves up a shed-load of surprises and manages to hugely entertain. A theatrical thrill ride that’s well worth watching.

Runs until Sat 23 May at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow

This article was originally written for and published by http://www.thepublicreviews.com at: http://www.thepublicreviews.com/peter-james-dead-simple-theatre-royal-glasgow/