Entertainment / Arts And Books

Michelle Loewenstein
2 minute read
1 Apr 2014
6:36 am

Queen show presents ballet with a twist

Michelle Loewenstein

There are things we all know about Freddie Mercury.

Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

He was a gifted singer and songwriter, a flamboyant performer, and died tragically before his time.

Sean Bovim’s Queen at the Ballet explores a different side of Mercury – the relationships that shaped the man. The show, which is being staged at The Joburg Theatre by Bovim Ballet and The CoLab Network, tells the story of the three women who were involved with Mercury, as well as that of Jim Hutton, the person he ultimately loved.

This twist in the classic ballet tale sees the roles of hero and heroine intertwined with that of hero and the man in his life. Henk Opperman and Devon Marshbank as Mercury and Hutton perform with passion and honesty, and Bovim uses the medium of dance to show that love is beautiful no matter what shape or form it comes in.

While the subject matter might sound a bit depressing, don’t expect a production that mirrors Swan Lake or Romeo and Juliet. The story is uplifting and upbeat with surprising song choices that will satisfy die-hard Queen fans as well as those who only know the band’s classics.

Dancers perform routines from Sean Bovim's Queen at the Ballet at the Joburg Theatre, 26 March 2014.  The show is a combination of rock-ballet en pointe in a high-impact production. Queen at the Ballet is part story of Queen’s, Freddie Mercury, over 20 of Queen’s greatest hits are performed in the show with live vocals by Cito and Daniel Fisher, with costumes designed by Malcolm Klûk & CGDT, Craig Port, Gavin Rajah and Ian West. The show started on the 26 march 2014. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

Wonderboom frontman and CoLab Network partner Cito, and relative newcomer Daniel Fisher were tasked with singing songs created for a man with a four octave range, and both handled the task with ease.

The performance definitely came into its own in the second act. Cito and musical theatre favourite Angela Killian’s stunning rendition of Barcelona was met with thunderous applause and provided a fitting end to a show about a man known for his dramatic onstage antics.

Purists might not enjoy Queen at the Ballet. A bit of twerking, pop and locking, and some jaw-dropping break-dancing stunts have been thrown into the mix, and one cheeky (pun intended) scene might make you gasp. So if you’re looking for en-pointe precision presented in stiff tutus, then you might want to give this one a miss.