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Wednesday, 15 May, 2002, 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK
Raspberries for Queen's Rhapsody
Brian May, Anita Dobson, Roger Taylor, Robert de Niro, Debbie Leng and Ben Elton
Creators and supporters of the show were in good spirits
We Will Rock You had good credentials on paper - music by legendary band Queen, produced by Robert De Niro and written by comedian and author Ben Elton.

But the British press were unimpressed with the musical tale which portrays a world where musical instruments have been banned and boy bands and girl bands dominate.

Ben Elton came in for a lot of criticism.

Fiona Sturges from The Independent was disappointed: "Surely they could have come up with something better than this. Ben Elton, the brains behind the book, claims to be a rock fan but he has done Queen a disservice with such a trite and tacky storyline."

Brian Logan from The Guardian agreed, claiming that "it would be hard to imagine a less appropriate vehicle for the band's music" and dismissing the production as "ruthlessly manufactured."

Nigel Planer
Nigel Planer recieves high praise
The Times' Caitlin Moran suggested that it was a non-starter to try and create a fictional tale around Queen's chart-toppers.

"Queen's songs were not written as part of an ongoing narrative structure... the script remains little more than two-minute blasts of knob gags and misplaced polemic between songs, and the musical numbers have nothing to do with the script."

The Daily Mail was even more scathing, although critic Michael Coveney admitted not being a Queen fan in the first place.

He declared: "Pantomime has arrived a little early in the West End, in the shape of this shallow, stupid and totally vacuous new musical."

Dull

Daily Telegraph critic Charles Spencer also confessed that "Queen always left me cold" but was determined to leave his prejudices aside for the evening.

This did not seem to work, as he concluded: "Far from being guaranteed to blow your mind, We Will Rock You is guaranteed to bore you rigid. The show is prolefeed at its worst."

There was some compensation for the performers though, with Coveney heaping praise on Tony Vincent and Hannah Jane Fox.

Tony Vincent was "absolutely tremendous" as Galileo and Hannah Jane Fox as Scaramouche was "splendid" too. He also paid tribute to the band's performance.

Kevin O'Sullivan from the Daily Mirror singled out Nigel Planer as "one of the best singers" and also said that Khashoggi was "brilliantly played" by Alexander Hanson.

But O'Sullivan also had the knives out for the scriptwriter: "Ben Elton should be shot for this risible story."

Robert Gore-Langton of the Daily Express perhaps unwittingly gave the show its highest compliment: "The show is so awful it's almost entertaining."

See also:

15 May 02 | Showbiz
De Niro attends Queen première
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