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ISSN 1447 4611

S TATE EDITION Vol 46 No 1555 SERVING VICTORIA SINCE 1969

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■ Melbourne showbiz royalty Patti Newton looked very much at home on the green carpet at the opening night of Wicked at the Regent Theatre this week. Her husband, Bert, had played the Wizard in an earlier production; the role is now taken by Reg Livermore. More pictures from opening night are on Pages 15, 42 and 43. See our ad, Page 23 ‘Trader’

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Melbourne Observer - Wednesday, May 14, 2014 - Page 3

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Page 4 - Melbourne Observer - Wednesday, May 14, 2014

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Mark Richardson ♥ Straight from the heart

E-Mail: mark@localmedia.com.au

Thunderbolt, lightning hits Palais ■ For many of us, when opportunity arises, we love donning an outfit and taking on new a persona to attend celebrative themed parties (Happy Birthday Farnsy!), attend special events (Merry Christmas John) or to captivate audiences appearing on television (let's give it up for Whispering Kamahl). Beyond the odd television appearance, for the truly talented artists, there is a global stage in wait for their shining arrival. Whether discovered by accident or driven by passion and the love for performing as their heroes, professional impression artists often keep us connected to the international stars and their musical legacies who are no longer with us or have retired from large venue performances (I'll leave that one alone). When it comes to resurrecting the spirit of the late Freddie Mercury, according to professionals within the music industry, original members of Queen and fans all over the world, no one comes closer than Scot, Gary Mullen. Who is arguing in any case? Certainly not the 864,838 viewers who voted for him to see him crowned the winner of the UK version of Stars In Their Eyes in 2000; and certainly not anyone who has seen him perform live with his band - The Works in sell-out tours in cities around the world. Although Gary was an avid singer and fan of Queen growing up, his career to recreate the look, sound, pomp and showmanship and travel the world to perform wearing tight white pants, ancient Adidas sneakers and often little else, was not a career by choice. Gary's career as Freddie began after his wife and his mother secretly applied to the Granada TV show Stars In Their Eyes, where he took the title whilst impressing the surviving members of Queen and being personally invited by the band's guitarist Brian May to attend the Queen and Paul Rodgers show. Whilst touring the USA performing their critically-acclaimed One Night of Queen show ahead of their only Melbourne performance at the Palais Theatre in St Kilda, I connected with Gary on his 'A Kind of Magic Porch' in Michigan. When did you first discover you could impersonate Freddie? I never really did. I got through to the auditions on Stars in their Eyes and everything changed after that.

A Kind Of Magic Porch Thoughts

Suddenly this new career came along. I still sing how I like to sing and I don't actually hear what people hear. What stood out to you most about Freddie's as both an artist and performer? Freddie could hold a stadium in the palm of his hand, write fantastic songs and also sing them. Listening to a Queen album is like musical schizophrenia; you just never knew what was going to be the next song one was heavy metal and the next one is a romantic love song. I found that fascinating. Touring from countries including the UK, USA, Europe, South Africa and New Zealand; what makes a show a success to you in terms of the comments you receive or read about? For me, the reward is always at the end of a show. If people are on their feet and they're smiling and they've had a great time, that's more important than someone saying you're fantastic at impersonating Freddie. You must recall one stand-out comment you've received after a show that has always stuck in your mind; particularly to give you confidence being the front man standing in Freddie's shoes? I recall in Glasgow, a guy at the back door was waiting with his wife for an autograph. I asked him, 'Did you enjoy the show?' He replied, 'Aye son, you can carry a tune.' I'm not one to ever take praise easily. For a Glaswegian, that was as good as him saying, 'You were fantastic.' Then what was it like receiving the ultimate praise meeting Brian May and the other members of Queen? It was like scene in the movie Wayne's World when they meet Alice

Cooper. I went with my bass player in the band, Billy Moffat. Brian asked me a few questions but all I could say was, 'OK.' Brian smiled and said, 'you've been to America . How was that? I replied, 'OK. 'Are you looking forward to going back again,' he continued?' 'OK,' I said. I was sitting there thinking, 'say something you idiot!' He was very cool and complimentary. I met my hero and was anything but let down. There are so many hit songs of Queen's and I am sure you have many favourites. What is one of your favourite songs to perform in front of thousands of Queen fans? Well, one of my all-time favourites is Somebody To Love. I absolutely adore that song. I love the gospel feel, I love the harmonies, I love Freddie's delivery on the track and it's a great song in the show. Audiences around the world love it too. How do you feel wearing the trade-mark Freddie tight white pants and the Adidas sneakers? You know those moments when you put gear and you look in the mirror and feel eight years-of-age again. That's me at 40 years-of-age with an eight-year-old trapped inside my body. It's a lot of fun; and I get paid to do it! You've received reviews and after-show comments claiming you've brought Freddie back to life in front of people's eyes, or he is there on stage guiding you in spirit. How do you feel about those sorts of comments? I think they're all creepy! I don't know about guiding me, again that's a bit weird like some weird ghostly puppeteer. There's some moments when I perform when I get an element of what he must have felt. I hope wherever he is, he's watching over me and is enjoying it. Do you think he would be impressed like Brian May? I'm not doing a mickey take of Freddie; it's not a parody. It's a serious rock concert and I'm trying to do a serious portrayal of Freddie with all the fun elements too. What can we expect at the only Melbourne show? It's the most fun you can have with your clothes on! Basically you'll enjoy as many of Queen's songs that we can cram into one show with group of guys on stage having a lot of fun. What is your Porch Thought for the day?

● Garry Mullen as Freddie Mercury "Get off your porch and come and May 24 at the Palais Theatre see the show. You'll have a great in St Kilda. For show and ticknight out; sing until your throat bleeds, eting information plus addiclap until your hands fall off and snap tional information including the the strings on your imaginary guitar." band's bio, news and Reviews ■ Gary Mullen and The Works visit www.garymullen perform One Night of Queen on andtheworks.com


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