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Theatre / We Will Rock You

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"It's not just a title. It's a promise."
We Will Rock You (WWRY or Rock You for short) is a Jukebox Musical by Queen and Ben Elton. The musical was first produced in London by Queen Theatrical Productions, Phil McIntyre Entertainment and Tribeca Theatrical Productions, with Christopher Renshaw as director, Mark Fisher as the production designer, Willie Williams as the lighting designer, Williams & Fisher as co-video directors, Tim Goodchild as the costume designer, Arlene Phillips as choreographer and Bobby Aitken as sound designer. The story takes place in a tongue-in-cheek dystopian future where originality and individualism are shunned, and a lone "Dreamer" appears who can fulfill a prophecy that will enable the return of rock 'n roll.

It first opened in the West End at the Dominion Theatre on May 14, 2002, with Tony Vincent, Hannah Jane Fox, Sharon D. Clarke and Kerry Ellis in principal roles. The musical was panned by critics, but was an audience favourite and is the longest-running musical at that venue (finally closing after 12 years on May 31, 2014). Many international productions have followed the original, and We Will Rock You has been seen in Australianote , North Americanote , Russianote , Spainnote , Japannote , South Africanote , Switzerland, Germany and Austrianote and also a Tour in 2014/15 (Germany/Austria), Australasianote , Italynote , Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Brazil, and at seanote .

A workshop script version of the show lasted up until and around the first few previews, when it was tested and changed accordingly. This can be found sometimes around the net, but is rare.

A sequel and a film adaptation are reportedly in the works.

The Story:

The time is the future, in a place that was once called Earth. Globalisation is complete! Everywhere, the kids watch the same movies, wear the same fashions and think the same thoughts. It's a safe, happy, Ga Ga world. Unless you're a rebel. Unless you want to Rock. On Planet Mall (in later versions, the iPlanet) all the musical instruments are banned. The Company Computers generate tunes and everybody downloads them. It is an age of Boy Bands and of Girl Bands. Of Boy and Girl Bands. Of Girl Bands with a couple of boys in them that look like girls anyway. Nothing is left to chance, hits are scheduled years in advance.

But Resistance is growing. Underneath the gleaming cities, down in the lower depths live the Bohemians. Rebels who believe that there was once a Golden Age when the kids formed their own bands and wrote their own songs. They call that time, The Rhapsody.

Legend persists that somewhere on Planet Mall instruments still exist. Somewhere, the mighty axe of a great and hairy guitar god lies buried deep in rock. The Bohemians need a hero to find this axe and draw it from stone. Is the one who calls himself Galileo that man?

But the Ga Ga Cops are also looking for Galileo and if they get him first they will surely drag him before the Killer Queen and consign him to Oblivion across the Seven Seas of Rhye. Who is Galileo? Where is the Hairy One's lost axe? Where is the place of living rock?

Anyway the wind blows.

The Characters:

We Will Rock You contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Badass: The 2022 rendition of One Vision has several Globalsoft drones try to break free and express themselves.
  • Adrenaline Makeover: Scaramouche gets one when she and Galileo make it to the Bohemians. However she started out as a Deadpan Snarker and became a Stripperiffic deadpan snarker after the makeover.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: 2022's Killer Queen is an artificial intelligence from an adult entertainment videogame who committed a Grand Theft Me on one of her creators. She did this to take over Globalsoft and to rake in loads of totalitarian dystopia money, but she still enjoys sex and is somewhat nostalgic for her humble, carnal beginnings.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Subverted, in a sense. Galileo, while showing all the typical signs of Troubled, but Cute, is really only 'bad' because of his dreams, and Scaramouche is quick to break up with him when he is particularly insensitive, or chauvinistic.
  • All Hail the Great God Mickey!: The Bohemians worship Queen as prophets and consider "Bohemian Rhapsody" their sacred text.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Galileo, Scaramouche, and the Bohemians are hated by the Ga Ga society.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Khashoggi and the Secret Police raid the Heartbreak Hotel/Hard Rock Cafe at the end of the first act.
  • As You Know: Killer Queen asks some questions for which she should actually know the answer but which give new information to the audience. For example : "And what about this shining star that is supposed to guide us?"/ "Who are these people? What do they want?"
  • Bad Boss: Killer Queen. Especially in her 2022 rendition where she frequently electrocutes her employees whenever she's in a very foul mood or even a very good mood.
  • Badass Boast: Towards the end of the first act, Brit tells Khashoggi, "You'll never take the Dreamer while I'm alive!"
  • Badass Normal: This one goes to the biggest, baddest, meanest, nastiest, ugliest, most raging, rapping, rock and rolling, sick, punk, heavy metal, psycho bastard that ever got get down funky. They call him Britney "Brit" Spears.
    • Or whatever name he happens to be going by in the current productions.
  • Bad to the Bone: While arguably all the songs could stand for this, the two stand outs are the Brighton Rock and Tie Your Mother Down instrumentals.
  • The Baroness: The Killer Queen
  • Beautiful All Along: It could be said that this is the case for Scaramouche, however, she is never really stated as unattractive. The only difference the makeover seems to give her is a boost to her own self confidence when it comes to her body image.
  • Broken Aesop: This play presents a future where people have become mindless consumers who all consume the same band fashions, music and lifestyles. Our heroes are the Bohemians, underground rebels who oppose the mainstream and wish to reclaim the old ways. At the end of the show our heroes realize that in order to defeat the villains they have to perform an awesome song, mainly Queen's "We Will Rock You". They decide to also broadcast the performance so that the whole world will see and then become Bohemians too. So, mindlessly following trends was bad when it was pop music and bright colors, but it's okay when the stuff you like is what is being consumed. Nice.
  • Canada, Eh?: Similar to Cultural Translation, some Canadiana references were peppered throughout its run at the Canon Theater in Toronto. Including Killer Queen ordering her minions to blow up rocks, including Newfoundland, Galileo reciting the I Am Canadian Molson Speech, Galileo also referencing "Sharon, Lois and Bram," also Scaramouche wears Canadian flag underwear. All this, among others.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: During Flash.
    Khashoggi In fact, HURT THEM ALL!
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: The Tales of Ga Ga. One volume so far, covering the first act of the show. Art is ... questionable
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: The laws pretty much enforces this trope.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The Killer Queen to the Bohemians.
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning: Sort of. Lyrics are seen as Holy Texts to the Bohemians.
  • Culture Police: Killer Queen and Globalsoft are bent on eliminating all music and, thus, free thought, on Planet Mall/iPlanet, aka Earth.
    • Ironically, Killer Queen sings about three songs about throughout the play. This is excusable, though, because it's a musical. And, really, who else but a villain could do Another One Bites The Dust?
  • Cultural Translation: The Las Vegas version was rewritten to set the Seven Seas of Rhye in Vegas (long since flooded thanks to global warming). In the Cologne-Version (not the tourversion, which also was shown at Cologne) the Seven Seas of Rhye were set in Cologne.
    • In Las Vegas Graceland, Elvis Presley's mansion, replaced Wembley Stadium in the climax. The Vegas-specific jokes were added, including a Bohemian named Wayne Newton, Galileo having a bad dream about Celine Dion, and a Take That! at Cirque du Soleil when Pop claims a Queen musical was so successful in Vegas that it ran the Cirque shows out of town (though this one turned out to be a Failed Future Forecast, as the Vegas run of the show closed after a year while the Cirque shows continue to this day). Parts of the dialogue especially the songs Galileo quotes throughout the play are changed depending on the country or city.
    • Both Italian editions have their own changes. The names of some Bohemians are the ones of Italian singers (all of them in the 2009 run, only two of them in the 2018 version), and a pair of other Italian media gags are also present - such as a throwaway line about Barbara D'Ursonote  becoming the main news host under Globalsoft's wing.
  • Deadly Euphemism: When Khashoggi tells Killer Queen that Gallileo and Scaramouche escaped, she "Blows his mind" as punishment.
  • Defiant to the End: After Khashoggi enters the Heartbreak Hotel to round up the Bohemians at the end of the first act, Brit defiantly takes them on to cover for Galileo and Scaramouche's escape. Predictably, Brit gets killed.
  • Distant Duet: The 2022 version of Don't Stop Me Now. This time Killer Queen gets to sing the entire song without interruptions as she sings about her plans coming to fruition, and Scaramouche distantly joins her while gleefully ignoring Galileo's insistence that the journey is too dangerous for her.
  • Double-Meaning Title: "It's not just a title, it's a promise," according to the show's taglines... Frankly, it delivers.
  • The Dragon: Khashoggi is Killer Queen's second-in-command.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Played with. Galileo and Scaramouche are pretty sure they're going to die, and it's part of what motivates them to confess their feelings.
  • Dystopian Edict: Under the rule of the Killer Queen and Globalsoft, rock music is not allowed. Granted, this is probably the most legit way to get a plot out of The Power of Rock
  • Entertainingly Wrong: When Galileo and Scaramouche find the Bohemians at the Seven Seas of Rhye, they assume that they are alright and that the fight is back on, not knowing (maybe forgetting) that Khashoggi had them all brain-drained. Pop sets the record straight.
    Pop: Your friends aren't there, dude! Their bodies are but their spirits are gone. They've been processed, man!
  • Excuse Me While I Multitask: In the original production, Khashoggi has a video call with Killer Queen while she's having a bikini wax (we only see her from the shoulders up). Every other sentence, she demands the unseen beautician to "PULL!" eliciting a silent, pained wince from her before she resumes talking.
  • Evil Laugh: Khashoggi lets out one in both Flash and Seven Seas of Rhye.
  • Fanservice: Fat Bottomed Girls. Oh, how that scene is pure fanservice. Although pretty much all of the female outfits qualify in every song.
  • Final Love Duet: Subverted. Though Hammer to Fall is certainly the last duet between Galileo and Scaramouche, it serves the purpose of mocking the idea of them falling in love due to them currently being annoyed at each other. (Don't worry - they make up, obviously.)
  • Flippant Forgiveness: In the second act
    Scaramouche: Don't blame yourself, Gazza. It's not your fault.
    Galileo: Thanks, Scaramouche.
    Scaramouche: I mean it's not your fault you're a spineless, gutless, whinging little crybaby!
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Brit sacrifices his life to let Galileo and Scaramouche escape.
  • Holding the Floor: The legendary guitarist known as "The Hairy One" (heavily implied to be Brian May) was granted the opportunity to play one final guitar solo by Globalsoft as a Last Request. He proceeded to do so, staying his execution for several full days before he inevitably ran out of steam.
  • Irrelevant Act Opener: One Vision to an extent. It shows part of the Ga Ga day - and gives more Orwellian parallels, but it does seem irrelevant considering how Act One ended. note 
  • Intertwined Fingers: This is an important moment in the show when Scaramouche and Galileo end up holding hands like this during Who Wants To Live Forever and they realise that actually they've been falling in love since they first met.
  • "I Want" Song: Oh, where to begin. A lot of the songs could be considered I Want songs to someone or other.
    • For Galileo we have I Want to Break Free that is, until you click that the only way he can 'break free' from life is to... yeah...
    • For Scaramouche it's I Want to Break Free and Somebody to Love. Though the latter does seem to be more about her bitter loneliness
    • For the Bohemians it's I Want It All.
    • For the Killer Queen, arguably, Play the Game. note 
    • Khashoggi has Seven Seas of Rhye which is also one of the more awesome scenes to watch.
    • Pop/Buddy has the melancholic These Are the Days of Our Lives, which is less of a personal want, but more of a desire for a return to simpler times.
  • Jukebox Musical: Though it's billed as a Rock Theatrical.
  • La Résistance: The Bohemians
  • Large Ham: Everywhere
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Some productions say that Queen only paused their rocking into the 21st century once, and that was "to create a smash hit musical based on their greatest hits."
  • Long-Runners: It was the longest running musical in the Dominion Theatre, and one of the longest running on the West End (12 years). By now, this gets lampshaded in the show: one of the characters tells the tale of a beautiful theatre where We Will Rock You ran for 150 consecutive years. (After which the subway station outside was still under construction.)
  • Lost Technology: The basic premise behind the musical, where music itself (non-programmed) is the Lost Technology.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Granted, again, it's Queen. Somebody to Love is the most glaring example, but I Want to Break Free also counts.
  • Mathematician's Answer: When Khashoggi and Killer Queen are having a video conference:
    Killer Queen: Can you hear me? Is the resistance destroyed?
    Khashoggi: Yes and no, madam.
    Killer Queen: What?
    Khashoggi: Yes, I can hear you. No, the resistance is not destroyed.
  • Medium Awareness: Whether Galileo is aware of being in a Musical or not during We Will Rock You remains open for debate, that his band knows that they're in a musical is established when they tell the Big Bad that they've in fact been in the wings for the whole show.
  • Mega-Corp: Globalsoft is this, without a doubt. It owns the planet, and has renamed it Planet Mall (or in later versions, the iPlanet))
  • Musicalis Interruptus: Killer Queen starts to sing the opening verse Don't Stop Me Now to celebrate the defeat of The Bohemians, when she is interrupted by Commander Khashoggi, who informs her that Galileo & Scaramouche were able to escape. He, of course, pays the penalty.
    • Averted just once in the London production on the sixth anniversary. The Killer Queen told Khashoggi that he'd been interrupting her for years and tonight she was going to finish the damn song. It was epic.
      • Also on Freddie Mercury's "60th birthday" performance when McFly came onstage to sing Don't Stop Me Now.
  • Musical World Hypotheses: To be expected within a musical. The Bohemians do seem like the type of people to randomly burst into song, but the actual music they hear is likely all in their heads.
  • No Man of Woman Born: The prophecy says that the musical instruments are buried in "living rock", and that a "bright, bright star" will show the way. Globalsoft assumes that "living rock" is some kind of physical rock (hence their decision to pulverize all the rocks on the planet) and that the "bright, bright star" is some new star in the sky. Actually, "bright, bright star" refers to a Freddie Mercury statue , and "living rock" refers to rock music.
  • Novelization: Well, more comic book adaptation
  • Officer and a Gentleman: Khashoggi fits, to an extent.
  • Opportunistic Bastard: Globalsoft didn't cause the nuclear armageddon that ravaged the world, but it was more than happy to pick up (and take ownership of) the pieces after it happened.
  • The Power of Rock: Yep.
  • Protest Song: In the context of the musical, both I Want to Break Free and Somebody to Love fit.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Killer Queen tells Khashoggi, "I think I'll have to blow... your... mind!" when the latter informs her that Scaramouche and Galileo have escaped.
  • Setting Update: The overall plot is essentially a Queen-ified version of Rush's 2112.
  • Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: Lampshaded. The Bohemians list the first two as descriptions of what rock and roll actually is, before admitting that they don't know.
  • Shout-Out: Most notably, the names of the Bohemians, and a remarkably high proportion of the dialogue is just straight shout-outs to song lyrics. The Other Wiki's list of referenced songs reaches well into double figures.
    • In recent professional performances, on the journey to Wembley Stadium, Pop/Buddy flies his motorcycle through a projected animation that leads them through much of Queen's album covers, including "A Day at the Races," "A Night at the Opera," and "News of the World".
  • Sinister Shades: Commander Khashoggi.
    • In the Toronto version of the musical, he is also shown to have two different colored eyes, which might explain why he wears them.
      • Considering the type of character Khashoggi is, it is fully possible he wears the shades to call on this trope.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Galileo and Scaramouche. To the point that once they kiss they actually break up immediately afterwards just to repeat the cycle.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Pop/Buddy is absent in the 2022 UK tour, so the Bohemian leader takes his place, being the only Bohemian to have survived brainwashing by Khashoggi.
  • Stepford Smiler: The Ga Ga kids. So much so that they are described as Stepford Kids in the book.
    • But they aren't hiding anything...
      • Depends on your viewing of the show, and how much attention is payed to incidental details. During One Vision the dance set-up subtly implies that many of the Ga Ga kids may hide Bohemian tendancies.
  • Take That!: The reaction to Galileo's attempt at playing the guitar.
    "Oh no, man, the rebirth of modern jazz!"
  • Trick-and-Follow Ploy: How Khashoggi and the Secret Police find the Heartbreak Hotel/Hard Rock Cafe
  • Villain Song: Khashoggi's performance of The Seven Seas of Rhye (and Flash before that) is performed with all the usual candor of a Villain Song and has a background choir provided by members of La Resistance during Electric Torture.
    • Not the mention the Killer Queen's performances of Killer Queen (though the first verse is sung by some of her minions) and Another One Bites the Dust. And also "A Kind of Magic".
    • The 2022 UK tour gives us The Show Must Go On which sees the Killer Queen join Khashoggi in raiding the Bohemian camp, killing Brit herself via electrocution and using her powers to control and round up the Bohemians in a Curb-Stomp Battle .
  • Villain with Good Publicity: The Killer Queen. She does run the planet after all.
  • World of Ham: and how. This play's setting makes the Capitol from The Hunger Games look austere by comparison.
  • What Are You in For?: How Scaramouche and Galileo meet.
    Scaramouche: So, Gazza, why were you arrested?
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Duh.
  • You Have Failed Me: Hearing about Galileo and Scaramouche getting away annoys Killer Queen so much that she decides to use the orange helmet to blow Khashoggi's mind.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: At the end of the first act, Brit holds off Khashoggi and the Secret Police so that Galileo and Scaramouche can escape. Unfortunately for Brit, the Secret Police kills him.