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Columbus finds rock again at ‘We Will Rock You’

Ruby Lewis (right) and Brian Justin Crum star in 'We Will Rock You,' playing at Columbus's Palace Theatre through January 12
Ruby Lewis (right) and Brian Justin Crum star in 'We Will Rock You,' playing at Columbus's Palace Theatre through January 12Paul Kolnik

We Will Rock You

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It’s set in a futuristic world where the Internet and computerized pop music has taken over everything. Everyone and everything is the same and anything that is contradictory is a threat. The world is ruled by a company run by a video game villain come to life. This is the world of We Will Rock You, the national tour with music written by Queen that stopped in Columbus this week.

And then, in the middle of this world, there are the Bohemians – the rebels who are trying to keep alive rock and roll, and are waiting for a dreamer who can help them achieve a prophecy to find the last musical instrument on the entire planet.

We Will Rock You is a futuristic adventure to be sure, and a fun one at that, with many familiar and much-loved songs. Like most jukebox-style musicals, the story itself is a little thin and could probably have done with some more fleshing out, but the good time feeling of the show overshadows that a bit.

Story issues aside, the rest of the musical is amazing. The set itself is rather minimal, but the graphics that play on the backdrop of the stage add a lot of mood to the show, particularly since it’s set in such a cyber-based world. The choreography is incredible and fun, and definitely unique to this musical. The cast and the story are fun to watch, which is so important, and made me forget about the real world for a while.

Leading the phenomenal cast was Brian Justin Crum as Galileo, a teenager who hears phrases he doesn’t understand in his dreams and who is determined to live outside of the world he’s grown up in. Crum is dynamic as a leading man and has no issues making himself seen and heard on the stage. Opposite Galileo is Scaramouche, played by Ruby Lewis, an incredibly smart outcast girl who has never fit into the image that others have for her. I particularly enjoyed Lewis’s subtle (and not so subtle) sarcastic deliveries of certain lines, and her acting a cynic was always both entertaining and fit so well into the conflicts of the story. Jacqueline B. Arnold as the Killer Queen is nothing short of awe-inspiring, with a singing voice that is soulful and powerful, and P.J. Griffith as Khashoggi is both funny and domineering as the Killer Queen’s right-hand-man. Erica Peck, Jared Zirilli, and Ryan Knowles, as Oz, Brit, and Buddy – three of the leading Bohemians – are all wonderful and humorous, stealing the stage with ease and bringing so much spirit to the story.

We Will Rock You definitely makes for a fun night out. It will be in town through January 12, so be sure to catch it while you can!