Ben Elton, writer and producer of Queen-inspired award-winning musical We Will Rock You, tells Marie Westmoreland why “the show must go on” as it heads to the region.
The tour stops in Newcastle for five nights. How do you think people in the North East will receive the show?
We Will Rock You is about pure entertainment.
Rock is a universal language and so far the show has worked wherever we’ve taken it. My own experience of playing to Geordies is that while they’re no pushovers, if they like you, they know how to party! So I think we are going to have some rocking good nights on the Tyne.
Why do you think it has been successful?
People like comedy of course, but at heart the real reason is it features the greatest rock and pop music ever recorded, music which is all about coming together and having a good time.
The success of We Will Rock You has been pretty spectacular which is fantastic of course, not least because Brian [May] and Roger [Taylor] and myself get to keep working on the show we love.
We never take it for granted and I personally never lose the thrill of being in the audience as the music brings people to their feet, I’m waving my arms like it’s the first night.
How would you describe the show to someone who hasn’t seen it?
It’s a big, bold, mad rock ‘n’ roll legend to the music of the Mighty Queen. What’s not to like?
Why do you think Queen’s music has lived on for so long?
Simple, it speaks to the heart and inspires the soul. It took genius to create it but you only need to have a pulse to love it.
What’s your favourite Queen song and why?
Too many to mention but No One But You means a lot to me as it’s the only Queen song Freddie never heard. Brian and Roger wrote it for him and it was my suggestion to put it in the show as a tribute to all the beautiful souls who die too young.
Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor are fans of the musical. What do you think Freddie Mercury would have made of the show?
Well Roger always says he’d have loved it. All I can say is that his whole family love and support the show.
After the opening night in London 11 years ago Freddie’s mum wrote to us to say he would have loved it. She said it’s a comedy and Freddie loved to laugh and it looks to the future which he always did. Her note ended: “if music be the food of love, rock on!”
* We Will Rock You, starring Kevin Kennedy and Brenda Edwards and featuring 24 of Queen’s biggest hit songs, will be on at the Metro Radio Arena from June 7-9. For ticket information visit www.metroradioarena.co.uk