The astonishing thing about We Will Rock You, Peele Community College’s exciting and action-packed version of the hit West End musical, wasn’t the quality of singing.
Nor was it the truly eye-catching and heart-pumping way in which the young stars made the Long Sutton college’s main hall stage their own or the sheer breadth and depth of Queen’s memorable music catalogue that was covered in the two-and-a-half hour show.
It was the simple fact that none of the students stars, from Year 11 student Sam Ray who played Khashoggi to the youngsters who were part of Gaga Girls, Gaga Kids and Bohemians chorus groups weren’t even born when Freddie Mercury, Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor first took to the UK music throne in the mid-1970s.
Yet these students managed to pack in almost every Queen hit - Radio GaGa, A Kind of Magic, Don’t Stop Me Now, We Will Rock You and the immortal Bohemian Rhapsody.
There was never a chance that any of the students would come close to matching Mercury’s majestic vocals, but every one of the Peele people gave it a right good go.
They all deserve equal praise, but possibly the three standout performances came from Neil Stavely who bought a John Lennon/The Young Ones-like touch to the role of Pop, Jade Mace who turned Scaramouche into a fiesty, it girl, don’t-mess-with-me woman of the 21st century and Summer Mace who might have already had a phone call from Simon Cowell on the strength of her singing in the role of Meatloaf.
This triumphant production was the result of nine months of pain-staking rehearsals held weekly, twice weekly and ultimately daily, including weekends and school holidays.
Drama teacher Claire Rule said: “Around 25 students were involved in the performance on stage and another 10 were involved either backstage or front-of-house.
“They all dedicated so much time and effort to the performance which is why it was such a success.”
There was even an appearance by staff member Garance Boularand who played, you guessed it, a teacher, but there was never a threat of We Will Rock You bringing the college into disrepute.
Quite simply, We Will Rock You just rocked.