I'm lucky to have grown up with 70s and 80s music, which not only influenced my career but also my life. Countdown was all the rage, and songs that topped the charts at that time are nowadays iconic and timeless. In my opinion, songs of today cannot match the music and songwriters from that era.
One of my favourite bands from that time were none other than Queen, who by the 80's were one of the biggest stadium rock bands in the world. In 1975 "Bohemian Rhapsody" took the world by storm, and in 2004 the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
When visiting London a few years ago, I decided to grab a few gal pals and head to the West End, famous for its range of top theatre shows and musicals. I had to see We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre, and only had time to catch a matinee performance. Talk about being in the right place at the right time. Here's my story.
I remember the day well. It was the middle of summer, yet the rain didn't dampen my spirits. With my hair drenched and make up running all seemed to fade the minute I saw the life size statue of Freddie Mercury perched on top of the theatre. My smile beamed like a ray of sunshine, and every puddle I stepped in, every car that splashed me, and every umbrella I wanted to seek refuge under was all worth it as there was nowhere else I wanted to be at that time.
As the house lights dimmed, eager for the band to play the first power chord, I felt like a teenager at a rock concert waiting to see my idol walk on stage. I had to pinch myself as I couldn't believe I was actually in London seeing one of the longest running musicals at the Dominion Theatre - and I wasn't disappointed.
During interval I spotted a few empty seats near the stage and trying to persuade my gal pals to shift was like trying to persuade mother nature to bless London with Australian weather.
As I took a seat on my lonesome closer to the stage, little did I know what would unfold in front of me towards the end of the musical - let alone at a matinee performance. During Bohemian Rhapsody the stage filled with smoke and who magically appeared? None other than Brian May in time to rip into the famous guitar solo! Ecstatic to say the least, tearing up from the excitement I looked over at my friends mouthing the ultimate line - "You should have sat with me!"
The stars were aligned for me that dreary London day, because it turned out one of my gal pals, Claudia Fontaine humbly mentioned she knew Brian May from the Diamond Jubilee Concert while doing backing vocals for Robbie Williams. I had flown such a long way to be where I was, and I refused to leave without meeting the legendary man himself - and that I did much to my delight.
Why was Brian May at this performance you ask? He makes appearances on Freddie Mercury's birthday, anniversaries, and when there's a cast change. On this day, it happened to be Killer Queen,Mazz Murray's final performance after returning to fill in for a month.
The musical tells the story of a group of Bohemians who struggle to restore the free exchange of thought, fashion, and live music in a distant future where everyone dresses, thinks and does the same. Musical instruments and composers are forbidden, and rock music is all but unknown. The show opened in London on 14 May 2002 and ran until 31 May 2014.
Since 2002 over 15 million theatregoers in 17 countries have been thrilled by this awe-inspiring production which is based on the songs of Queen with a book by Ben Elton (The Young Ones, Blackadder, Popcorn). Elton fashioned this hilarious futurist comedy around more than 24 of Queen's biggest hit songs including We are the Champions, Radio Ga Ga, I Want To Break Free, Somebody To Love, Killer Queen, Don't Stop Me Now, Under Pressure, Bohemian Rhapsody, Another One Bites The Dust and of course, We Will Rock You.
Australian cast photo supplied by Adelaide Festival Centre
The cast includes Gareth Keegan who will play the central role of Galileo, a Bohemian dreamer who hears strange song lyrics in his head and is ultimately the reincarnation of Freddie Mercury. Erin Clare will be Scaramouche, a sarcastic, cynical Bohemian misfit with sharp wit who wins Galileo's heart and is the reincarnation of Brian May, only this time "he's a babe".
Even more exciting news is the casting of hilarious and popular performer Brian Mannix, formerly the lead singer of 1980s band Uncanny X-Men, who will return to the musical stage as Buddy, an old hippy librarian/philosopher and an expert on the lost sacred musical texts.
Killer Queen, a ruthless and power-crazy businesswoman who rules the world through Globalsoft, the worldwide corporation responsible for the suppression of all live music and all original thought, will be played by the extraordinary Casey Donovan.
Thern Reynolds and Jaz Flowers will portray Brit and Oz, a pair of Bohemian lovers who strive to rediscover the lost music and rebel against Killer Queen and Globalsoft, and Simon Russell will be Khashoggi, Killer Queen's second-in-command, the sinister and cruel chief of Globalsoft police in charge of capturing the Bohemians and getting rid of any original or creative musical thoughts.
WE WILL ROCK YOU reflects the scale and spectacle that marked Queen's live performances and earned the band its pinnacle position in rock history. With Queen's Brian May and Roger Taylor as music supervisors and "a band without parallel in the theatre" behind the cast, the audience can expect WE WILL ROCK YOU to rock as fiercely as the best of Queen's concerts.
The original Australian tour of WE WILL ROCK YOU opened at Melbourne's Regent Theatre on 7 August, 2003 with a record advance, and Brian May and Roger Taylor in attendance. Australia was the first country outside the UK to produce a local version of the mega-hit musical, and the production dominated the 2004 Helpmann Awards, receiving five Helpmann Awards.
You'll be a 'crazy little thing' to miss out!
Venue: Sydney Lyric Theatre, The Star
Season: From 30 April 2016
Bookings: Ticketmaster or 1300 795 267
Venue: Lyric Theatre, QPAC
Season: From 3 July 2016
Bookings: QPAC or 136 246
Venue: Regent Theatre
Season: From 30 August 2016
Bookings: Ticketmaster or 1300 795 267
"There's no escaping the irresistible pull of these songs, or the visual and aural assault on the senses that the show accompanies them with." – Sunday Express
"A new breed of musical. It's brilliant." – BBC Newsnight