THE story of how a man went from peace-loving, long-haired hippy and would-be pop star to being accused of becoming a warmongering multimillionaire is coming to the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre at Guildford.

Tony! [The Tony Blair Rock Opera] is billed as a musical like no other, featuring the former Prime Minister, his wife Cherie, Princess Diana, John Prescott, Peter Mandelson, Alastair Campbell, Osama bin Laden, George W Bush, Saddam Hussein, Gordon Brown and others.

Put together by comedian Harry Hill and composer Steve Brown, the show received critical acclaim following a sold-out run in London.

“We’ve tried to make it as funny as we can,” said Harry. “Whenever I go to a musical and it’s described as ‘hilarious’ I sit there smiling. People laugh because they’re so desperate to do so but it’s what someone described to me as ‘a theatre laugh’.

“It’s not like a big belly laugh but we’ve crammed this show with big belly laughs. It’s basically a really good, fun night out. Obviously it’s about Tony Blair and it’s a great story. Whether you love him or loathe him you’ll get something out of it.”

The show, co-written by Harry Hill, aims to produce 'big belly laughs'. (Picture supplied)

The show starts off with Blair as a peace-loving hippie in a band and he then becomes Britain’s most successful Labour Prime Minister, before he turns into a kind of political outcast.

“People have very strong feelings about him,” said Harry. “I often wonder ‘If you bumped into him in the street, would you ask him for a selfie?’

“He polarises opinion but we try not to take sides in the show. Well, we do take sides but it’s not left or right-leaning. It’s more about the process of democracy and whether we ever get the leaders that we deserve.”

He said the inspiration for the show came through Harry being struck by the arc of Blair’s story. “It’s a story of extremes and it’s one we all know, which helps. There’s also an element of nostalgia to it.”

Steve added: “I was more a fan of Gordon Brown, and I was amazed that Blair won when Brown was more of an intellectual heavyweight and a more serious figure.

“You may not agree with his principles but as Groucho Marx said ‘These are my principles and if you don’t like those I’ve got others’ and at least Blair had some."

Harry and Steve describe the show as a rock opera – but only for the sake of pretension. “It affords it a mock-serious tone,” said Steve. “When Blair came to power there was the whole Britpop thing, which we allude to in one scene, and he’s obsessed with Mick Jagger and the guitar.

“Then he had Noel Gallagher round at Number 10, sort of dishonouring the building and quaffing champagne.”

Steve said the variety and the pace of the music is dictated by whoever is singing to it. Saddam Hussein, for example, has a number that is done in the style of Groucho Marx.

The tour incarnation of the show is two tight 45-minute acts. “In order to get everything in there, sometimes you have to lie to tell the truth,” added Steve. “Boris Johnson told me that.”

Harry says he is expecting a “good Home Counties crowd” in Guildford. “The point I want to make is that even if you’re a Tory, and there are a few in Guildford, you’ll still find it funny,” he said.

Tony! [The Tony Blair Rock Opera] is at the Yvonne Arnaud from Thursday 25 May to Saturday 3 June.