Have you ever spent a shameful Saturday night watching the X Factor? Bought a lacy leotard in the vain hope that it will transform you into Cheryl Cole? Secretly enjoyed a Taylor Swift song?
If the answer to any of these is a resounding yes, I implore you to log on to ticketmaster immediately. “We Will Rock You”, the musical extravaganza based on the music of Queen, has hit the O2 with all guitar strings blazing. Yet it is not merely the songs of Queen which are celebrated. This musical projects a spirit which has remained latent during the capitalist, conformist so-called Noughties. It is a spirit of rebellion, individualism and, most importantly, rock ‘n’ roll.
The first scene opens with a Radio Gaga score, featuring the clone-like Gaga brigade. Clad in coordinating outfits and dancing in carefully choreographed formation, it is hardly a stretch of the imagination to recognize their symbolism as the product of mass globalization. The year is 2300 and Globalsoft company has succeeded in effectively ruling the world, through a combination of mass advertising and brainwashing. Instruments have been banned and the complete annihilation of musical culture makes Simon Cowell seem like Bob Dylan. However, fear not, the unlikely protagonist is soon to grace the stage. He goes by the name of Gailileo, a stuttering outcast who is deemed a threat due to his ability to “hear” words and phrases in his mind, naturally those transplanted from the lyrics of Queen songs. However, the cloud of his incarceration by the Secret Police has a silver lining, in the form of his “somebody to love”. Dressed in drab clothing, Scaramouche’s voice lights up the spacious O2 stadium from her first solo. As kindred spirits they escape the clutches of the formidable Killer Queen, ruler of Globalsoft and ironically played by former X Factor star Brenda Edwards.
The show really comes to life when the central characters encounter the “Bohemians”, a rebellious group committed to a quest for the return of rock. The costumes! Not a sniff of Jack-Wills-is-the-new-Abercrombie to be seen here. Fishnet tights, fluorescent pink, waistcoats… And that’s just the boys.
We Will Rock You is not just a title, it’s a promise.