FUNNYMAN and writer Ben Elton is bringing his hugely successful musical We Will Rock You to the Cliffs Pavilion.

This year the smash hit which features 24 of Queen's favourite hits, celebrates its 20th anniversary.

It is set in a distant, dystopian future where Earth is called Planet Mall and its inhabitants wear the same clothes, think the same thoughts and exist in a brain-dead haze.

This system forbids musical instruments and composers, whilst rock music is all but unknown.

The musical tells the story of Galileo, Scaramouche, Killer Queen and the other ‘Bohemians’.

Ben Elton said: "I can hardly believe it’s been 20 years since We Will Rock You premiered in London. Or that much of what we thought was science fiction in the script back then has turned into science fact! I guess Queen were always ahead of the game.

"I’ve directed this show all over the world and I’m thrilled to bring it home to the UK with a brand new production and a fabulous cast of young Bohemians, most of whom were rocking in their cradles when this adventure first began.”

The Queen legends themselves, Brian May and Roger Taylor, admit they had early reservations about staging a musical.

"We were not initially convinced, not being fans of the ‘musical theatre’ genre on the whole," says Brian. "The show needed to work in a theatrical context and retain the rock, whilst also incorporating the spectacle, uniqueness and humour embodied by Queen."

This was certainly an important aspect to include for Roger, who added: "We (Queen) took the music seriously, but we never took ourselves seriously.

"We always had the ability to laugh at ourselves. Some of the stage gear and even some of the music is quite humorous. The whole middle section of Bohemian Rhapsody was - we did a lot of daft things and a lot of experimentation."

It was therefore important to do something new.

Fortunately, this challenge was both accepted and overcome.

Roger describes Ben Elton as having "such a great active mind that never ever stops churning out ideas".

We Will Rock You reaches Southend on August 1 - 6.

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