Preview: ‘We Will Rock You’ by Berwick Academy

Berwick Acadamy pupils ready to tackle Queen musical We Will Rock You. Picture by Kimberley Powell
Berwick Acadamy pupils ready to tackle Queen musical We Will Rock You. Picture by Kimberley Powell

The West End version 
might be closing soon, but Berwick Academy pupils 
are determined to make their take on ‘We Will Rock You’ 
live long in the memory.

The hit musical based on songs by Queen has been playing in London’s West End for 12 years, but as the curtain prepares to come down on its time at the Dominion Theatre, Berwick Academy’s own rockers are ready to raise the roof with their production which begins a four-night run at the school on Tuesday, March 25.

It’s the second time head of drama Paula Griffiths has directed the show, with the likes of Katie Hindmarsh and Grace Gudgeon in her first foray into Queen’s back catalogue. And she and her cast are clearly ecstatic about bringing it back to the school stage.

“They’re all really excited about the show,” Paula explained. “It is a really big one to do, there’s no escaping that.

“‘We Will Rock You’ has had its critics. They have had a go at its lack of storyline. But there’s no getting away from the fantastic music in it.

“I think most of the kids knew a couple of Queen songs before they started, while some said their dads and grandads were big fans. They made me feel quite old!

“What’s so good about it is that it’s giving people who have been in shows before their first main role while others are doing a musical for the first time.”

Striking the famous Freddie Mercury pose as lead Gallileo Figaro is Frazer. He is no stranger to musicals having most recently starred as Raoul in ‘The Phantom of the Opera’.

But his latest part is a completely different challenge, with some rather high notes to reach.

“Some of the songs have been really difficult to learn,” he said. “They’ve got a lot of harmonies.

“If I had to pick a current favourite it’d be ‘I Want To Break Free’ and as cast we’re loving ‘Head Long’.

I was treated to a rendition of the latter at rehearsals last week and it certainly bodes well for opening night.

Central to that number are the characters of Britney Spears, Meat and Scaramouche.

The first is played by Patrick and the two female leads shared between Abbey and Aimee and Kyla and Rachel.

“All the songs are really fun to sing and I think we’re all stronger as performers now,” Patrick commented.

For Kyla, Scaramouche represents her first leading role and as a big Queen fan it would be an understatement to say she was enjoying the part.

“It’s really weird hearing Queen songs done in this way, but it’s also lots of fun. I couldn’t have asked for a better part for my first leading role.”

And Abbey was quick to dispel any rivalry between the girls

“It’s been really good having someone else doing the same part – we can help each other out and we’ve all got different strengths.”

One of the fiercest female characters in ‘We Will Rock You’ is Killer Queen. Having played the naïve Carol in last year’s ‘Our Day Out’, Nicole is fully embracing her fiery new alter ego.

“I’m loving finally getting to play a villain,” she joked.

“‘Killer Queen’ is an amazing part and it was the one I wanted. Plus everyone says I get all the best songs!”

Other songs in the ‘We Will Rock You’ repertoire include ‘One Vision’, ‘Radio GaGa’ and of course ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.