Queen fans and lovers of musical theatre will be in their element with the arrival of the musical dedicated to the band’s music – We Will Rock You.

Since 2002, over 15 million theatregoers in 17 countries have been thrilled by this epic show, jointly penned by Queen and Ben Elton.

Having enjoyed an impressive run of 12 years in the West End, it is currently delighting fans of Mercury, May, Deacon and Taylor at Oxford’s New Theatre.

We Will Rock You is, bizarrely, set in a distant, dystopian future where Earth is called Planet Mall and its inhabitants wear the same clothes, think the same thoughts and exist in a brain-dead haze. The system forbids musical instruments and composers, while rock music is all but unknown.

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The musical tells the story of Galileo, Scaramouche, Killer Queen and the other Bohemians who set out to discover the Holy Grail of Rock and restore the free exchange of thought, fashion and most importantly, live music.

It’s all completely bonkers but brilliant.

Elton, who wrote the book, said the story had to comprise an abstract quality “that reflected the feel of the word and music, rather than its literal content”. He added: “This was not pop music, but rock music. Some of the most famous rock ever written, and legendary music should have a legendary context.

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“I began to think of legends, both new and old, from King Arthur to The Terminator; heroic myths in which brave individuals take on the vast monolithic force of evil systems.”

Interestingly, Brian May and Roger Taylor had early reservations about staging a musical.

“We were not initially convinced, not being fans of the musical theatre genre on the whole,” says Brian.

“The show needed to work in a theatrical context and retain the rock, while also incorporating the spectacle, uniqueness and humour embodied by Queen.”

Roger agreed, saying: “We took the music seriously, but we never took ourselves seriously. We always had the ability to laugh at ourselves.

“Some of the stage gear and even some of the music is quite humorous. The whole middle section of Bohemian Rhapsody was – we did a lot of daft things and a lot of experimentation.”

Oxford Mail:

Brian insisted the show should be something completely new. He says: “If we were going to go into this arena, the challenge was that we would somehow try and make it our own.”

Fortunately, they did. Brian recalls: “There was a point where I realised there was a whole new area of creativity opening up to us if we wanted it – a whole new canvas to paint on.”

And, they found the perfect collaborator in the shape of one-time alternative comedian Elton, who Roger describes as having “such a great active mind that never ever stops churning out ideas”.

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The show is fun, light and humorous, yet also contains softer and, at times, heart-rending moments.

Ben describes it as “intriguing, challenging, achingly romantic, brutally cynical and at once both sad and hilarious”.

Roger, meanwhile, describes the show as “silly, but funny and making quite a lot of serious points while it goes on its rather daft course”.

Echoing Brian’s determination to create something “new in every sense”, he reflects that the intention was “to keep it a bit gritty and make sure it’s not a typical show”.

Thematically, We Will Rock You couldn’t be more relevant today: set in a world where individuality is no longer valued and with great use of technology, it speaks to audiences more than ever.

Brian recognises the musical’s significance in our technology-driven society.

“I think it’s a very good comment on the way things are going,” he says. “Ben’s idea that individuality is being eroded every second of the day and soon it will be impossible for people to write their own music, think their own thoughts, write their own poetry is very perceptive.”

To Brian, Radio Ga Ga “represents the malady which is taking over the world. It’s almost like that old ‘men versus machines’ thing, which we also addressed a few albums ago.”

Oxford Mail:

Just as the show explores themes relevant to those growing up today, the musical also offers younger generations, who may not have heard the music before, the opportunity to discover the iconic musical genius of Queen.

Brian says: “I had this very strange thought that it’s quite possible that this particular musical might be the thing through which people know our music in 300 years’ time.”

He adds: “I’m quite shocked at how fresh this stuff still sounds and it makes me very happy, obviously”.

Queen’s back catalogue is clearly standing the test of time, and this new tour of ‘We Will Rock You’ is sure to be a stand out spectacle which will offer fantastic performances and incredible production value.

  • We Will Rock You is at the New Theatre Oxford until Saturday. Tickets from atgtickets.com