Queen - It’s A Kinda Magic
If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, then Queen It’s A Kinda Magic is surely the icing on the cake for one of rock’s most successful acts. Queen is a band that needs little introduction, having dominated the charts in the 1970s and 1980s thanks to their popular brand of stadium rock and frontman Freddy Mercury’s legendary stage presence and songwriting skills. With Mercury’s death from AIDS in 1991, the remaining members agreed unanimously that the show couldn’t go on without the flamboyant singer. Much of Queen’s popularity was due to their amazing live act and the onstage antics of Freddie Mercury, whose charisma helped fill stadiums in Queen’s heyday.

It is this kind of atmosphere that Queen It’s A Kinda Magic strives to recreate for Queen fans new and old around the world. Starting ten years ago with Melbourne-born Craig Pesco in the Freddie Mercury role, Queen It’s A Kinda Magic reached new heights in 2005-2006, touring Europe, the United States and Asia. Perhaps the highest praise for the show comes from former Queen guitarist Brian May, who has called the show the best Queen tribute he’s ever seen, and former personal assistant to Freddie Mercury Peter Freestone, who regards the Australian production as the best of its kind in the world.

Queen It’s A Kinda Magic is now touring Australia and played the first of two Brisbane shows on Saturday 28 April to a sold-out audience at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre. Back in Australia for the first time in two years and after a successful world tour, an air of anticipation lingered as the crowd – a mixture of new and older fans – filed into QPAC’s Lyric Theatre.

As the curtain rose and the lights flashed, all eyes were on ‘Freddie Mercury’ (played by Craig Pesco) as he strutted about the stage in trademark tight white pants and cropped yellow jacket, looking every bit the part. Meanwhile Brian May (Travis Hair) struck a rock-star pose, face hidden beneath the familiar shock of black curly hair, while
David Christopher
remained cool and focussed at stage right, while
Brett Millican
, on drums, presided over the group.

  Craig Pesco - Queen It's Kinda Magic stage production.

Craig Pesco as Freddie Mercury - Queen It's A Kinda Magic


While the audience began the night sitting down, it wasn’t long before Pesco had everyone on their feet for the show’s title tune ‘It’s A Kinda Magic’, and the dancing and arm-waving was taken up in earnest during the band’s spirited renditions of ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ and ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’. 

An energetic drum solo by Millican allowed time for a quick wardrobe change before ‘Freddie’ returned sporting painted-on leather pants, cap and aviator sunglasses, much to the crowd’s delight. This was the first of several wardrobe changes for the singer, who later appeared in drag (complete with wig and fake breasts) for ‘I Want to Break Free’, and later in an Australian flag, much to the crowd’s appreciation.

‘We Are the Champions’ had arms raised and couples swaying while ‘We Will Rock You’ electrified the crowd, before Pesco sang a moving tribute to Freddie Mercury as images of the Queen frontman played in the background. However it was ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ that drew the biggest cheer as the group threw themselves into an electrifying version of Queen’s most famous song.

Each band member played their part in capturing the energy of Queen but, as in real life, it was the charismatic frontman who won the audience over with an energetic display of theatrical postures along with a fine vocal performance, and it was clear that ‘Freddie’ was enjoying the show just as much as the audience. The night was completed with an at-times mesmerising light show. After the final chords had been struck, the cast stayed behind to meet fans and share Queen memories and trivia.

Singer Craig Pesco is upbeat about the Australian tour: “The audience response has been better than ever,” he told AusNotebook Music & Creative. “Everything’s better – better lights, better wardrobe, everything”. When asked about his favourite Queen song to perform, Pesco says “it changes from night to night…maybe ‘Somebody to Love”. He adds that the show is always chopping and changing, trying to keep things fresh: “The show you will see in Brisbane in July will be a very different one from the last”. If you are a Queen fan, or are just curious to see what all the fuss is about, Queen It’s A Kinda Magic is a must-see. Tour dates are as follows:

Craig Pesco supports various charities, in particular research in finding a cure for AIDS.


Article/Review written by Miranda Forster for AusNotebook, Music & Creative 20/5/07
Photo courtesy from The Shock Factor


Upcoming Australian Shows

Mackay – Entertainment Centre – Fri 8 June

Cairns – Convention Centre – Sat 9 June

Mt Isa – Civic Centre – Wed 13 June

Darwin – Entertainment Centre – Sat 16 June

Rockhampton – Pilbeam Theatre – Fri 22 Jane

Townsville – Civic Theatre – Sat 23 June

Brisbane – QPAC – Sat 7 July

Perth – Burswood Theatre – Sat 21 July

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