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We Will Rock You

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by Kat Parr Mackintosh (subscribe)
Young and coffee in varying degrees, Kat also says stuff @ThoroughlyMode
Published April 19th 2011
If you know anything at all about music you'll have guessed from the title that this musical is based around the music of Queen. But unlike other similar 'catalogue' or 'jukebox' musicals, We Will Rock You, abbreviated to WWRY by hard core fans of which there are numerous, doesn't tell the story of the band. Instead it goes way out there and tells a Mad Max-esque tale of a future where musical instruments are banned, all music is computer generated - sung by boy bands and girl bands - and the charts are planned years in advance. Kids all wear the same things, watch the same films and are supposed to have the same thoughts. And the kids who don't are rebels: Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality.

Once you establish that bit of the plot then you know what's coming next. Galileo, a poor boy from a poor family is going to lead a bunch of Bohemian rock rebels to where the planet's last musical instruments have been stored: "The mighty axe of a great and hairy guitar god." And all rock-hell is gonna break loose.

Ben Elton is responsible for this unexpected storyline, but he collaborated with Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor on the music, so it's definitely tarred with the talented hands of Queen. The Queen team also put up some of the funds for the production so they must have had some affinity with the message about the great and good Gods of Rock triumphing over the predictability of pop.

Freddie's statue outside the Dominion
Freddie's statue outside the Dominion
We Will Rock You premiered at The Dominion in May 2002, and was promptly panned by critics, but lapped up by audiences for whom the story resonated. The main criticism has always been the clunky 'sixth-form' way that the libretto segues into the songs it's apparently not that easy to link Queen songs together into a logical narrative. But the fans don't seem to mind this is a musical that people go to time and time again, in fact there are some regulars who go once a month and probably know the musical better than some of the cast.
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Why? If you like Queen, rock, or Mad Max then this one's for you.
When: Monday to Saturday evenings at 7.30pm Saturday matinees at 2.30pm Extra midweek matinee last Wednesday of every month at 2.30pm
Where: The Dominion, 268-269 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T 7AQ, UK, nearest station Tottenham Court Road
Cost: From 15 (standing) - 62
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