Review of Bohemian Rhapsody at the Congress Theatre by Laura Sonier.
RHAPSODY is defined as “an enthusiastic, ecstatic or extravagant utterance or composition”.
I’m not sure that this show really did that definition justice. Bohemian Yell might have been a more accurate description, as the performers struggled to make themselves heard over the heavily amplified music.
Jonathan Ansell, of G4, X-Factor and Superstar fame, was billed as the star of the show but was hidden away through most of the first half, doing a few awkward ‘rock’ moves behind the soloists.
His first solo wasn’t until the last number before the interval and he gave a rousing rendition of Barcelona.
Some of the audience rose to their feet – in response to Ansell’s soaring performance but also, possibly, in sheer relief that the man on the posters was actually getting the chance to sing.
He performed more in the second half, but his voice was often hidden in the mix behind the (talented) band – which would be utterly expected and enjoyed at a rock concert, but not when the show is billed as a ‘Broadway style production’.
There are some talented people in the show – many of the cast had previously performed in the Queen musical We Will Rock You in the West End and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt had recently starred in the tour of Flashdance – but with some fairly ghastly leather and spandex outfits, lacklustre choreography, a slightly cringeworthy foray into the audience and problems with the tone of the show (is it a concert or is it a Broadway style show?) Bohemian Rhapsody is just not slick enough to convince.
Most Queen fans will enjoy the show despite its shortcomings – indeed, there was a fairly rapturous response at the end with most of the audience on their feet and crying out for more.
But how much of that was due to their love of Queen’s music and how much due to the quality of the show is up for debate.....
Evening performances are at 7.30pm on Friday and Saturday, with a 2.30pm matinee on Saturday.
Tickets cost from £14-£24.50, call 412000.