BEING able to draw on the experience of Freddie Mercury’s friend, biographer and assistant has been an “invaluable” asset for British performer Giles Taylor.
Taylor steps into Mercury’s shoes onstage in Showtime Australia’s production Queen – It’s a Kinda Magic, which is coming to Invercargill next week.
Adding to the show’s authenticity is the knowledge of production consultant Peter Freestone, who was Mercury’s personal assistant for 12 years and “knew him inside and out”, Taylor said.
“It was invaluable to be able to get into Freddie’s head that way, because no matter how many videos or DVDs you watch you’re not going to get that information.”
Taylor has been recreating the music and the magic of Queen live on stage for the past four years for with Australians Richie Baker on guitar (as Brian May), Kyle Thompson on drums (as Roger Taylor) and South Africa’s Steven Dennett on bass (as John Deacon).
“Every time we tour we try to keep it as fresh as possible… it makes it exciting for us and also gives people who have seen us before something different to come back and see.”
The show is based around Queen’s 1986 world tour concert and features some of the band’s greatest hits including We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions, and Bohemian Rhapsody
“We base it loosely around that, but we go right back to their early days with some of the tunes, and we go right up until Freddie died in 1991, so literally it does cover the whole spectrum of Queen.”
For Taylor, Fat Bottomed Girlswas a favourite song to perform.
“It’s always in the set. It’s one of the songs that I first remember hearing from Queen as a youngster, and regardless of where we go in the world it always seems to get a fantastic response.
“One of the great things about Queen is they have so many tunes – one of our hardest jobs is actually trying to choose which ones to play in our two-hour set.
“We’re also very big Queen fans ourselves so we do a number of B sides and lots of not-so-popular tunes, which is great for the diehard Queen fans.”
Taylor said they tried to make the whole show as genuine as possible. All of the costumes were handmade to the specifications of Mercury’s original outfits and the stage was replicated as much as possible for touring.
“Our MO [modus operandi] is basically it’s like going to see Queen when they’re in their heyday. That’s what we’re trying to recreate.”