WE WILL ROCK YOU | London, New Wimbledon Theatre

Written and directed by Ben Elton, the smash hit jukebox musical based on the songs of iconic British group Queen rocked the West End 2002-2014. Now twenty years later, this new, stripped-back touring production is set to rock theatres across the UK.

At the heart of the show is a phenomenal cast of twenty-six, an on-stage five-piece band, and an amazing sound team: it is the music that raises the roof. Tortured teen Galileo (Ian McIntosh) is desperate to “break free” from the homogenising strictures of “Gaga” High School: his machismo growl more than matches up to the wild vocal demands of the music.

The gargantuan spectacle of the original has been replaced by a squat steel structure (Tim Blazdell) and a few pixelly video screens (Stufish Entertainment Architects, Willie Williams), with dated CGI that actually detracts rather than contributes. Putting up video screens to conceal the live band, rather than incorporate them, seems a bizarre choice.

Despite attempts at updating the show with a couple of references to Covid and modern-day pop songs, the script’s fundamental criticism of the internet as a force for destroying the music industry now comes across as dated and simply untrue. Even the nostalgic rockers for whom this show is created know that we have the internet to thank for the fact we are now living in a golden age of self-managed artists. However, even if Ben Elton’s script and direction no longer hold relevancy, Queen’s astounding songs still resurrect the rocker within us all.

Touring 7 February – 10 September 2022 across the UK.

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