I'm sure everyone is aware that Rachel played Meat in the West End production of We Will Rock You for the last time on Saturday night - and she sure went out in style! I was lucky enough to be there with a group of amazing friends to witness an incredible, awe-inspiring, emotional, funny, wonderful, and generally fantastic show with the whole cast giving it their absolute all. And one very special visitor! (Mr Bri-Ann!) My friend Juls and I were sitting in Row D of the stalls, and her incredible camera managed to capture these photos for you all (THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!). I've managed to get my paws on some other photos too that will hopefully be up here soon.
There were only a few alterations to the show in the evening (unlike the 'muck-up' matinee that afternoon), but there was just a totally different atmosphere to a normal show. Instead of kicking off with 'Innuendo' as usual, Queen's 'It's A Beautiful Day' started playing instead and really got the audience going - everyone was clapping and singing along, and the show hadn't even started!
The first half was incredible as always. Some of the performers were obviously finding it hard to hide their emotions - Sabrina spent most of 'Somebody To Love' with tears streaming down her face! Ricardo (who also left the cast on Saturday) was absolutely outstanding. I've seen his Galileo.. errrm.. a fair few times lets say, but nothing could have prepared me for how amazing he was on Saturday night. He gave 200% to every little thing he did. His voice had never sounded better, and he was clearly loving every single second of it. He and Sabrina were just a dream-team. Mazz Murray and Alex Bourne were amazing as always - when Mazz starts singing most of the audience just sit there gawping up at her - incredible!!!
And then there's Rachel and Ian who pop up through the trapdoor to finish off Act I. Rachel came up onto the stage to a massive cheer and her and Ian's 'I Want It All' was simply fantastic. It was like they were both determined to make the most of every moment of their last performance together and their energy transmitted to the audience wonderfully.
'Headlong' with Sabrina and Ricardo was also brilliant - with a few added dance moves from both Rachel and Sabrina!
Rachel's last ever 'No-One But You' was something I was looking forward to, but also slightly dreading..just because I knew I'd never want it to end. As usual it was totally flawless, but the emotion in her performance made it absolutely captivating for everyone. The emotion of the evening and of the song in general meant that she (and many members of the audience - not mentioning any names!!!) were in tears throughout it. Many of the bohemians standing in the Heartbreak Hotel behind her also found it hard to compose themselves during such a beautiful final performance!
Ian then lead the cast in 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love' which was, as usual, a perfect end to the act. Everyone was having so much fun - Rachel added in a couple of shouts of "I LOVE YOU BRITNEY!" which was lovely!
Act II and everyone knows theres nowhere near enough Rachel. However, ample amounts of Ricardo (which is never gonna be a bad thing really is it?!). It was amazing but quite sad watching him for the last time. He and Sabrina always work so incredibly well together and their 'Who Wants To Live Forever' and 'Hammer To Fall' were the highlights for me - two amazing performances from them both.
Anyone whose seen the show knows that it ends with the whole cast (lead by Ricardo) singing 'We Will Rock You' and 'We Are The Champions', the latter of which Ricardo occasionally ends with this crazy long note that just goes on forever and ever. The last few time I'd seen him he hadn't done it - then for Rachel's last Scaramouche on the 4th September he did it and it was completely amazing as usual. Everyone kind of assumed he'd obviously do it for his last show as well, and he did not disappoint - but the most moving moment for me was, as soon as he started, everyone in the audience just rose to their feet and gave him the massive standing ovation he deserved (which left Sabrina in bits on stage again!). It was a great moment.
The cast then all return for 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. And you can imagine just how wild the audience went when, for the guitar solo, Brian May comes up through a trapdoor in the centre of the stage, surrounded by smoke. It was epic!
Brian then stayed on stage and said goodbye to all the cast who were leaving, finishing with Rachel and Ricardo. I see there's a video of the speeches below this, so you can all hear for yourselves, the touching things he said about Rachel and what she'd bought to the part of Meat. He said that everyone was really going to miss her - too right we will!
Ricardo got a similarly moving goodbye - he's been in the cast for over three years and, as Brian May said, practically recreated the part of Galileo - taking him to places that no-one else had done.
This fantastic evening ended with Ricardo and Brian May leading the cast in a moving performance of 'The Show Must Go On'. My words probably can't do it justice so I won't try and sum it up, but it was simply breathtaking!
So that's that! Rachel has officially left WWRY and we await with baited breath to see what she'll do next (back to the West End please!).
All that's left to say is congratulations Rachel, on a fantastic year in London (Hampton Court, So Jest End, West End Eurovision aaaaaaand a West End debut!) and have an amazing wedding and a wonderful time in Thailand. But come back soon please!