Queen: It’s a Kinda Magic
Reviewed at the State Theatre
Director: Johnny Van Grinsven
Featuring Giles Taylor
Reviewed by Ron Lee, CSP
Is it possible to emulate the talent, showmanship and stage presence of one of the most iconic and powerful front men in the history of twentieth century music? Or is it an assignment that is too ambitious?
In Queen: It’s a Kinda Magic, Giles Taylor took on this gargantuan task.
All of the hits were in the show. I Want To Break Free, Another One Bites The Dust, Somebody to Love, We Are The Champions, Radio Gaga, Killer Queen, We Will Rock You and Bohemian Rhapsody were all there.
Supporting Taylor’s Freddie Mercury were Richie Baker in a wig as Brian May on guitar, and on drums, Kyle Thompson was Roger Taylor. Both are superb musicians who did justice to their original counterparts.
So, was Giles Taylor anything like Freddie Mercury? Taylor is an excellent pianist and powerful and brilliant singer who also plays guitar, but he looked and sounded nothing like Freddie Mercury. In fact, several of his expressions looked more like Basil Fawlty.
Taylor tried really, really, really hard to be Freddie but you can’t fake stage presence. You either have or you don’t, and Freddie’s was as effortless as it was compelling. He didn’t try to force audience participation; you just did it without thinking.
On the night, my companion and I made a conscious decision to stop wanting Taylor to look and sound like the great man and to enjoy the show as fantastic musos performing the music of Queen.
My preference would have been to experience Taylor, Baker and Thompson in concert playing Queen rather than portraying Queen. In that context, Queen: It’s a Kinda Magic was an enjoyable experience.