THE statistics speak for themselves. Two dozen songs from the Queen back catalogue, an eight-year run in the West End and more than 11MILLION tickets sold. This latest touring production — courtesy of the mighty Phil McIntyre Entertainment organisation, which once promoted the band’s live shows — delivers some solid performances. Noel Sullivan (Galileo) and Amanda Coutts (Scaramouche) handle the lead roles deftly while corrie/EastEnders favourite Ian Reddington is on showstopping form as Pop. They help to give the (pretty thin) storyline a bit of oomph but, let’s face it, it’s the big musical numbers everyone turns up to see and they don’t disappoint. While the band blaze impeccably through hits like Radio Ga Ga, Killer Queen and A Kind Of Magic, the eye-watering visuals and choreography are never less than impressive. The one weak point, as in the West End production, is Ben Elton’s script. Creaky at best, sometimes the gags scrape no higher than the primary school playground. But — hey! — when the tunes are as good as this, who’s worried about the words.
The cast is, inversely, excellent. There are some incredible voices and their expertise and professionalism really shone through. There is not a note or a foot wrong throughout. Ian Reddington (better known as Vernon off Corrie) made his inexplicable hippy character fun and strangely convincing; I’d Do Anything finalist Ashley J Russell camped up a storm as the diva Killer Queen; West End ledge Earl Carpenter (last seen on stage as Juan Peron in Evita) did stirling work as the ludicrous Matrix-esque lackey Khashoggi.