Freddy makes a vocal appearance four times during the show and, it has to be said, these moments are almost magical. As I was a mere 13 when Queen last toured the globe, I never had the chance to listen to the music on anything else but a stereo set, event though at times the set was not half bad.
The show is highly enjoyable and the music is great. The voices of the players range from reasonable to very good and it's a good thing they seldom try to exactly copy the Queen originals as the few times they do try to emulate Freddy's vocal ranges, they fail easily. And it's near-blasphemy to try and sing Queen songs and get away with it, anyway.
Still, that is not to say that most of the performances are highly enjoyable. The closing song, after the story proper has ended, Bohemian Rhapsody, is done very well, live, in full. Something Queen, for obvious reasons, never were able to manage.
The storyline, a future where rock music is outlawed and a bunch of bohemians fight to get it back is a bit flimsy and, at times, contrived, but you could argue that any excuse to play Queen music is a good excuse. What was a pity were the cheap, sometimes 'risky' jokes, which would have been better in some show from the '80s. Meanwhile, the jokes referencing South Africa's pop history were enjoyable, not in the least judging by the roaring crowd.
The ending is a bit of an anti-climax.
Several of the Queen songs have been changed slightly to feature buzzwords like 'internet' and email. Innovative, but it also gets old after a while.
The show relies to some extent on large LCD screens on which images relevant to the show are displayed. On several occasions, I was reminded of "Queen, 'The Eye'". When you read up on the game, you'll find it has some interesting parallels with the musical.
The show apparently has 32 songs by Queen, but I'm a bit biased against this. Praising musical artists who died too young, the track "No-One but You (Only the Good Die Young)" is sung. Indeed, it does show up on the album "Queen rocks", but was recorded after Freddy Mercury died for an album that, basically, is a 'best-of' CD.
Oh, the venue, Johannesburg Civic theater, has a ridiculously short intermission.