The jukebox musical “We Will Rock You” -- now at Miami’s Arsht Center -- has three things going for it: a songbook from legendary rock band Queen and two leads who can belt like no one’s business.
That alone almost saves the show, which suffers from the problem of waaaaay too much of a good thing. The first act alone is 90 minutes, which after a marathon second act clocks the production in at two and half hours.
Now if you are a Queen fanatic (and who among us doesn’t love those operatic anthems?) that may do you just fine. But this isn’t an arena concert. It’s a musical. And I couldn’t help notice the desperation on the faces of the audience bolting for the bathrooms or bum-rushing the bar during the 15-minute intermission.
Directed and written like it was a video game by Brit stand-up comedian Ben Elton, “We Will Rock You” is high on the humor scale, making puns out of much of the rock era’s biggest hits and punchlines out of pop music’s biggest acts (think Britney and Miley). And Elton’s instinct is right on to set his fantastical fable in a dystopian future where a global corporatocracy has outlawed individuality and all music is generated by computers.
This sparks a rebel force called Bohemians to constantly search for relics from the legend and lore of rock ‘n’ roll in – where else? – Hard Rock Café in Las Vegas, all the while waiting for their messiah to bring the music back. And what is a rocker without a rocker chick, right?
Enter Galileo and Scaramouche, played by Brian Justin Crum and Ruby Lewis respectively. The two stars of “We Will Rock You” are dazzling, even when their script repeatedly pulls the rug out from under them (the second act is a silly hot mess). Crum sings with an electric wail that can rattle your bones and Lewis’ voice has the heat and glow of a laser beam. The cast is supported by a 10-piece sonic boom of a band.
Let them all loose on Queen’s iconic songs such as “I Want To Break Free,” “Somebody To Love,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” “We Are The Champions” and the encore “Bohemian Rhapsody” and this show hits you in the ear drums and the heart.
But be prepared to pay the babysitter overtime.
“We Will Rock You” plays through Sunday at Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 7 p.m. Sunday; 2 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m. Sunday. Tickets: $26-$96 Contact: 305-949-6722 or ArshtCenter.org.