The magic of Freddie

2008-10-14 00:00

Created 10 years after the death in 1991 of the incomparable Freddie Mercury, Queen: It’s A Kind Of Magic returns to South Africa for the second time. Having conducted many sold-out world tours, it is presented in Durban by Showtime Australia in association with East Coast Radio and is currently running at the iZulu Theatre at Sibaya.

The pulsating show stays true to Freddy Mercury and Queen’s unique performance style with magnificent stadium-type lighting, rock concert sound and authentic costumes.

Freddie Mercury is a well-nigh impossible act to follow but Craig Pesco tackles the challenge with gusto and accuracy, giving us the rock star’s posturing, parading, energetic performance and powerful delivery.

Taking the role of Brian May is Travis Hair with Brett Millican as drummer Roger Taylor — both holding the audience riveted with virtuoso solo pieces. The quieter member of the foursome but providing a solid anchor role is Mitch Cairns as bass guitarist John Deacon.

I doubt the iZulu Theatre will ever be the same again as this show packs a huge punch in terms of sound. From my point of view, far too much sound. The volume would fill the new Moses Mabhida Stadium, let alone a well-designed theatre. While full-on concert hype is all very well, I yearned for the quieter and more sensitive numbers to be presented in a way where one could hear the words and the singer retains a sense of stillness.

Responding to shouts for an encore, Craig Pesco came back on stage to perform what, to me, was one of the highlights of the evening. Straight singing without all the bells and whistles.

So, nag for an encore!

Caroline Smart

• Queen: It’s a Kinda Magic! is at the iZulu Theatre at Sibaya until October 19. Book at Computicket.

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