|Ben Elton writes Jefferson Airplane musical
||[Jan. 22nd, 2009|10:51 am]
Following on from the smash hit success of We Will Rock You and Tonight's The Night, Ben Elton has decided to adapt the music of the psychedelic art-rock band Jefferson Airplane in the new musical Somebody to Love.|
As in We Will Rock You, where characters Scaramouche, Galileo Figaro and the Killer Queen take their names from lyrics, Elton has used the Airplane's brilliantly tangled, stream-of-consciousness meanderings and adapted them to serve the plot. Thus Pooneil, a young man lost in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco 500 years in the future, is captured and experimented on by the evil scientist Dr. Lather. He meets and falls in love with Alice, another of Dr. Lather's captives, while the good doctor is experimenting on them with size-altering pills that can make the user gigantic or tiny.
The pair then try to escape via a variety of ingenious but sadly physically impractical means, eventually settling on flying at an altitude of 39,000 feet in the aircraft of Captain High. But it is revealed that Dr. Lather has had a tragic life, discovering at thirty that he is "no longer young".
Finally, all the characters are rejuvenated by knowing love in a sequence featuring most of the rest of the Airplane's songs and lasting nearly an hour, and take off in Captain High's jet to travel 3/5 of a mile in ten seconds.
The musical is a triumph of reordering songs until a plot can be vaguely discerned among the baffling, multicoloured, psychedelic undergrowth. Elton truly has done it again.