Cupar Youth Music Theatre: We Will Rock You – great triumph for talented youngsters
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The seven main principals were admirably cast, and each brought their own character to the roles. Calan Greig followed up his tyro role last year with a confident and polished performance as Galileo. His acting was confident and convincing in a demanding role and I think I detected a young man’s voice just breaking which slightly affected his vocals.
Calan’s “will they, won’t they” relationship with Bethan Laing as Scaramouche worked very well, and I particularly enjoyed their full on rendition of “Under Pressure” and the poignant duet, “Who Wants to Live Forever”. I was amazed to note that this was Bethan’s first major role. Her vocals were outstanding, and her acting on a par. Mairi and Louisa were a terrific, happy go lucky pair as Brit and Oz, displaying acting and vocal skills in equal measure. They certainly knew how to get the audience going by giving their all in their big number “I Want It All”.
Eilah MacKenzie in the heavy role as the villain Khashoggi in black leather and all, was terrific as a first-time performer with CYMT, and held the stage confidently in her vocal work. Her contribution in “Seven Seas of Rye” was top rate. Ashleigh Redpath had a somewhat hard shift as the villainous Killer Queen but blossomed in “Another One Bites The Dust”. Finally, Clodagh, as Buddy, enthusiastically aided and abetted the other principals but we were denied hearing her sing solo.
The story of “We Will Rock You” is, of course, very thin and is carried along by Queen’s fantastic music. As the action moved up the gears in the second act, particular highlights for me were the anthemic “ We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions” highlighting Calan, where the audience enthusiastically entered into the performance as in a rock concert, and, of course, “Bohemian Rhapsody”. Having performed this number in a choir recently I recognise its many musical difficulties which this cast took in its stride. Whilst led by Calan and Bethan this finale also gave many of the cast (too many to mention) a little flavour of the spotlight.
The challenge of performing to a music soundtrack rather than a live band should not be underestimated and was handled almost seamlessly.
The favourite and sometimes challenging music of Queen was overall very well presented, and credit to) “old hand”, Emily Middleton, as musical director. She had clearly put a huge amount of effort into schooling the cast in music more familiar to their parents and even grandparents.
This was Lewis Hann’s first musical production, and, as I noted there were an astonishing 16 members of the cast appearing with CYMT for the first time, he certainly took on a significant challenge, which overall was more than satisfactory. It is so difficult to persuade inexperienced performers to step out of their natural accent and to slow their dialogue, and a little more effort in these two directions would have reaped dividends.
Overall, there was so much to enjoy about this performance, and, once again, it is marvellous to see so many enthusiastic young people developing their vocal and performing talents. The roars of approval which emanated from the audience from first number to last were a sure sign that “We Will Rock You” joins the list of triumphs of this great young company.