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Queen’s ‘A Night At The Opera’ Inspires Japanese Kabuki Reimagining Of ‘Romeo and Juliet’

Entitled ‘Q: A Night At The Kabuki’ premieres at the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre on 8 October.

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Queen A Night At The Opera Inspires Kabuki
Photo: Queen Productions Ltd

A new experimental Japanese production is set to use Queen’s classic 1975 album A Night At The Opera as inspiration. The play, Q: A Night At The Kabuki, is being mounted in Tokyo, Osaka and Kitakyushu, Japan, by writer/director Hideki Noda of the independent NODA*MAP theatre company.

The play will open on 8 October, and, according to a press release announcing the project, Noda began working on two years ago, “out of the desire to explore and bring the dramatic world of A Night At The Opera, which includes ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, to life on stage in a theatrical setting.”

With the permission and support of the band, the production will feature all the songs from the album, which contains such classics as ‘I’m In Love With My Car,’ ‘You’re My Best Friend,’ ‘Love of My Life’ and, of course, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’

“We are thrilled and honoured that legendary playwright and director Hideki Noda has chosen to expand on the theatrical aspect of Queen’s album A Night At The Opera and actually make it into a real live play,” says Queen guitarist Brian May in a statement. “How wonderful to be a part of Japanese culture after all these years with what promises to be a new chapter in theatre history in this first year of the new Reiwa era.”

Set in medieval Japan, the show puts its own spin on Shakespeare’s Romeo And Juliet by re-imagining the tragedy’s ending: what would have happened if the star-crossed lovers had survived? Noda describes the play as “pretty unconventional in a weird kabuki way.”

According to the NME, in a statement, Noda added, “Even though I was only half-convinced, I set about half-naked and sweating all over doing numerous workshops trying to put into words the inspiration I got from A Night At The Opera. I then conveyed my ideas to that someone close to the band, and what do you know! I received a reply from Queen saying it was OK to go forward with the play.”

Q: A Night At The Kabuki will premiere at the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre on 8 October. It will also be staged at the Shin Kabuki-za Theater in Osaka and the Kitakyushu Performing Arts Center in Kitakyushu, from 19 to 27 October and 31 October to 4 November  respectively.

The Freddie Mercury box set, Never Boring, is out on 11 October and can be bought here.

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