We Will Rock You
- Gareth K Vile
- 10 October 2019
This article is from 2019
Good tunes and a terrible script
It's unfortunate that Ben Elton, now touring as a stand-up, decided that a lazy story, weak characterisation, gender-stereotypes and a few predictable gags were more than enough to frame the music of Queen: We Will Rock You has a terrible script, even for a jukebox musical. Spouting idiotic slogans about the death of rock and the rise of the internet, it is a weird dystopian message from a writer who seems frightened of the future and imagines that the wretched history of racial and sexual exploitation in the music industry is a better alternative to playing computer games.
The show survives purely on the quality of the dance routines, the spectacular scenography and the music of Queen, which mostly survives the transition to musical theatre. Many of the numbers are given rockier readings – a two guitar metal assault overwhelms the vocalists, but gives the show both drive and excitement.
Any attempt to think about the message, or characterisation, however, is a depressing journey into old-fashioned humour and attitudes, and the inherent contradictions in the plot. The pace flags in the second act, although One Vision takes its rightful place as a fascist anthem and the final We Will Rock You does sound like a musical's version of revolution. The production is best enjoyed as a spectacle with dynamic choreography, and the occasional moment that captures the theatricality and bombast of a rock legend.