All aces for Queen

 

If you’re looking for an uproarious interlude into the fall performance season, then CM Performing Arts Center’s “We Will Rock You” is the perfect entre into theater after a year of shuttered venues.

The musical “We Will Rock You,” by Ben Elton and featuring songs by Queen, plays on the audience’s participation, with clap-alongs and sing-alongs welcomed by performers.

Director and costume designer Ronald Green III has a true cinematic and theatrical eye with his version of the dystopian iPlanet, which is brought to fruition as equal parts “Mad Max,” “Rent” soundstage, and ‘90s rave aesthetic.

No more extolled is this holy trinity than in the presentation of the Killer Queen character and her minions.

Played by Evan Torres, the Killer Queen is fabulous, but restrained in her power as the visual and artistic focal point of the GlobalSoft Corporation. Torres’s Killer Queen is maniacal, but perfectly poised as she works to stomp out the Bohemians, with never a note or hair out of place.

The counterpoint to the Technicolor Killer Queen is Khashoggi, the henchman-executive of GlobalSoft, who Peter J. Osterman portrays with a coolness from “The Matrix” (one of Elton’s inspirations for the musical), donning ever-present sunglasses.

The Killer Queen and Khashoggi, caricatures and duplicates of what perhaps were once actual representations of art, fight the Bohemians, who are a ragtag team of noncompliant artists searching for true music.

Galileo Figaro and Scaramouche, played with chemical romance, respectively, by Francesco DiFlora and Aubrey Alvino, served as performance anchors for the swirling riot around their central characters.

Alvino’s strong, belting voice carried the legendary rock band’s music with passion and ferocity, and fluttered on the stage with a well-played sensuality.

Dennis Creighton’s Buddy, with his malapropic pronunciations of bygone electronics such as a “VY-day-oh-tah-pay” (video tape), was a wonderful comedic role that lent itself well to goad the audience into participation.

Projection designer John Mazzarella kept the background interesting and moving, with cryptic but relevant imagery on the two back frames of the stage, reminiscent of Bush’s 2019 video reel for their anniversary tour of “Sixteen Stone.”

In a standout performance, conductor Matthew W. Surico led a dedicated pit in capturing the quality and spirit of Queen’s music, but still maintaining nuances for an individual interpretation.

Ending the lively show was an encore performance of “Bohemian Rhapsody” featuring the entire cast, that had hands flying in the air and the vivid guitar solos for the audience to ride home with after a glorious return to theater

 

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