Being Freddie: It’s a Kinda Magic

SHOWMAN: Giles Taylor is Freddie Mercury in Queen: It’s a Kinda Magic, coming to the Civic Theatre, Newcastle, on September 10. PROFESSIONAL: Giles Taylor has taken a method acting approach to becoming Freddie Mercury on stage. He’s pictured with consultant Peter Freestone.
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HE didn’t know it at the time, but Giles Taylor began preparing to play the role of Freddie Mercury in the 1980s.

“I’m in my mid 30s so my father would have Queen’s Greatest Hits blasting through the car stereo every morning going to school,” Taylor told the Lakes Mail from his home in Montreal, Canada.

“So when it came to learning the tunes for this show, I actually knew a hell of a lot more than I thought I did.”

Taylor emerged from a series of worldwide auditions to take on the role of Mercury in the tribute act Queen: It’s a Kinda Magic, which arrives at Newcastle next month.

As far as tribute shows go, this is a big one.

This international production has been hailed as much as a theatrical creation as a concert experience.

It recreates Queen’s 1986 world tour concert, and features more than 20 of the band’s biggest hits including Bohemian Rhapsody, We Will Rock You, We Are the Champions, and Fat-Bottomed Girls.

And as far as lead singers go, Taylor is not your typical covers band frontman.

The Englishman is a multi-instrumentalist and graduate of music and drama studies at Trinity College of Music in London.

A session muso and vocalist with a three-and-a-half octave range, Taylor was performing on the West End when invited by the producers Showtime Australia to audition for the role of Freddie.

“The reason they asked me was because I’m a piano player as well as a singer, and they wanted somebody who could sing and play the piano parts live,” Taylor said.

It was the first inkling Taylor had that the producers were serious about this show.

“There are a lot of good Queen acts out there, but a lot of them use tracks. A lot of them don’t play the piano,” he said.

Everything in this show is live and, according to Taylor, closer to the real thing than anybody expects.

The band spent eight months honing the distinctive sound of the Queen harmonies.

“And it took us a month and a half to learn Bohemian Rhapsody.

“There’s no other Queen tribute band in the world that does the whole of Bohemian Rhapsody live, and that’s quite simply because the middle section is an absolute nightmare.”

The commitment to authenticity doesn’t stop there, he said.

Freddie Mercury’s former personal assistant and biographer, Peter Freestone, now tours as a consultant for the show after having been impressed as an audience member.

Freestone regularly works with the band at rehearsal, but before a tour he will spend a week one on one with Taylor.

“It’s almost like method acting, where I become Freddie off stage as well as on it,” Taylor said.

■ Queen: It’s a Kinda Magic plays at Civic Theatre, Newcastle, on Wednesday, September 10, at 8pm. Tickets cost $69.90 to $79.90 from ticketek南京夜网.au

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Flood hero rewarded: 12 people rescued from waters

COURAGE: Troy Jorgensen rescued 12 people from rising floodwaters during the June 2007 storm that battered the region. Picture: Jamieson Murphy ORDEAL: Floodwaters trapped many motorists inside their vehicles during the storm in 2007. Picture: Peter Stoop
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A LAKE Macquarie man will be presented with an Australian Bravery Medal for his heroic actions during the Pasha Bulker storm.

Troy Jorgensen rescued 12 people from rising floodwaters in Kotara on Friday, June 8, 2007.

The Eleebana resident was driving his wife, Tasha, and friend Jarrad Townley when his car stalled as they tried to cross a flooded road.

After pushing the vehicle clear, they realised the water was flowing rapidly at waist height over the road.

“We were one of the first cars to go through the floodwater, but at that stage the water wouldn’t have even been two feet deep,” Mr Jorgensen said.

“Within an hour or two the water had tripled in depth.”

As darkness fell, Mr Jorgensen attempted to divert oncoming traffic.

“The storm caused a black-out, so people were coming over the hill not realising they were about to drive straight into the floodwater,” he said.

Despite his efforts several vehicles drove into the water and became submerged.

The rising waters trapped people in their cars because the water pressure prevented them from opening the car doors.

“The water was at some stages up to the windows of their cars,” Mr Jorgensen said.

He and Mr Townley (who will also receive an award) entered the water multiple times, prised open car doors, and helped the trapped people to the safety of a nearby house.

Mr Jorgensen said each rescue had a different challenge.

There was the girl with her leg in a cast.

And the woman screaming for help with her young son and daughter restrained inside their vehicle.

Mr Jorgensen and Mr Townley unbuckled the boy and pulled him through the window.

Mr Jorgensen then climbed through a slightly open window into the cabin and unbuckled the girl and carried her to safety.

In another rescue, Mr Jorgensen got a woman out of her car seconds before it drifted completely underwater.

The string of rescues happened over three hours. In that time several cars were inundated and washed away in the floodwaters.

One of Mr Jorgensen’s most vivid memories of the event was how cold his feet became.

“They were absolutely freezing. For days my feet ached from the cold water,” he said.

Despite the obvious danger, Mr Jorgensen said he wouldn’t hesitate to do it all again.

“I found that I couldn’t just walk away from the situation – I just did it because I saw people in trouble,” he said.

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Halekulani development declined

NO GO: Wyong mayor Doug Eaton said the development proposal was inappropriate for the sensitive piece of land. Picture: David StewartONE of the most publicly opposed development applications to cross the desks at Wyong Shire Council has been blocked.
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Councillors last week voted to refuse a development application, lodged by Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council, for 178 manufactured homes and associated buildings near the foreshore of Lake Munmorah, at Halekulani.

While the proposal may have delivered more affordable housing for the shire, the adverse impact of the proposed development on the environment was one of several significant issues raised in a council assessment report.

Mayor Doug Eaton said the development proposal was inappropriate for this sensitive piece of land.

“The site is simply not suitable for the proposed development. This proposal has been strongly opposed by the community, receiving one of the highest levels of opposition of any development I’ve seen in 20 years on council,” Cr Eaton said.

The report raised concerns about bushfires, threatened species, relevant planning instruments and policies, the remote location and inadequate road, pedestrian and public transport facilities.

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MAYOR’S MESSAGE: Brochure maps out bike routes

HEALTHY WAY: The best Lake Macquarie cycling routes are featured in the new brochure. Ryan OslandAS we head into spring, it is a good time to take advantage of the many outdoor activities in Lake Macquarie.
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To help your weekend planning, the council has published a new brochure with comprehensive maps of local cycling routes to cater for the growing number of recreational cyclists who live in or visit our region.

The council has many well-maintained shared pathways and the brochure features 12 of the most popular routes currently enjoyed by Lake Macquarie’s own cycling community.

It also highlights some of the city’s major attractions and historical icons.

A copy of the brochure is on the council’s website.

Another way the council is encouraging a healthy lifestyle is its commitment to our swim centres.

The community has told us they want to see more contemporary facilities that offer many of the features found in modern aquatic and leisure centres.

The council has identified potential options for the redevelopment of the Charlestown and Swansea swim centres and is now seeking community feedback.

In 2009, the elected council resolved to adopt the Pool Service Delivery Model as the strategy for the future development of the city’s public swimming centres.

In 2013, the council then resolved to support the development of plans for Charlestown and Swansea leisure centres to the development application stage as the two highest priorities.

The proposed upgraded centres in Charlestown and Swansea include indoor and outdoor pools, gym facilities and water-play areas, and at Charlestown, the inclusion of allied health facilities.

I am looking forward to hearing from the community about what they like and don’t like about the concept designs that will transform the pools into thriving leisure centres.

To view the concept designs and have your say, visit haveyoursaylakemac南京夜网.au.

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