Pop royalty in Queen at the Baxter

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To Queen at the Ballet1

The legend that is Freddie Mercury lives on. Sean Bovim’s Queen at the Ballet, which captures the story of the great pretender, is returning to stage once again and this time at the Baxter Theatre from tomorrow until August 18.

Bovim’s contemporary ballet piece enjoyed a sold-out season at Oude Libertas earlier this year.

Created in 2004, with up to 88 performances to date, Bovim’s long affinity in running the show year after year is simple.

“I have done other shows – Tango Night, Swing Time and Romeo’s Kiss, but Queen at the Ballet is a special baby to me. Because the music is so timeless, it’s a huge crowd puller.

“The choreography is well meshed with the music and I’m not good at giving myself credit, but I’m known as Johnny Vegas,” the choreographer chuckles.

“I'm either going to make people laugh or shed a tear. It’s not just dance, but something that can reach people.”

Having just stepped off a flight from Namibia that evening, where his show featured as the guest artist performance at the Miss Namibia pageant, Bovim is exhausted but eager to get the production running.

Using the athleticism of rock ballet en-pointe in this high impact production, Freddie Mercury’s story is told through the medium of dance, with choreography created for a cast of 22.

Set to over 20 of his greatest hits from Who Wants to Live Forever to Bohemian Rhapsody, the recorded orchestral arrange-ments by Michael Hankinson is further enhanced by the live vocal gymnastics of Cito (WONDERboom and Jesus Christ Superstar fame), Daniel Fisher (Fiddler on the Roof) and popular local soprano Magdalene Minnaar (most recently seen as Christine in Phantom of the Opera).

Henk Opperman dances the role of Freddie, while his lovers are portrayed by Devon Marshbank, Tanya Futter, Nicola Van der Merwe and Faye Dubinski.

“The show never gets stale for me. It’s never the same and it changes by the day.

“People are difficult to please, even though it was the 88th show in February, it was sold out,” says Bovim.

“It’s an updated version, the Freddie character is fully deve-loped and Master Time (Freddie’s conscience) has an apprentice called Second Hand, played by JV Mattei, who does the current hip hop street dancing.

“I’ve given it a more youthful feel than the version of 2004.”

An array of costumes designed by international and local design-ers such as Malcolm Klûk & CGDT, Craig Port, Ian West, Gavin Rajah and Danielle Margaux all bring Bovim’s production to life.

“Dancers don’t get employed so often and it’s a damn clever idea to put something on that’s popular to get work,” he says cheekily.

Staging this production at the Baxter Theatre for the first time holds huge nostalgia for Bovim.

“Besides the big stage and amazing lighting design by Kobus Rossouw, it’s like coming home for me because, as a student, I used to dance there.

“I’m known as the Peter Pan of ballet,” he chuckles.

As for whether he has any other shows lined up for the future, Bovim hints: “I have something up my sleeve”.

• Shows run from Wednesdays to Saturdays 8pm and Sunday 12 August at 2pm.

Tickets range from R150 – R180 and can be booked through Computicket.


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