Freddie Mercury’s mark on music history is undeniable. Even posthumously the Queen frontman is still part of pop culture decades after his death. His spirit is often evoked in TV shows like Glee or massive stage productions honouring him and the entire band.
One of the most popular shows, It’s a Kinda Magic, is currently on its South African tour. What sets this production apart is Peter Freestone. Queen fans would have heard his name whispered before.
He was Mercury’s personal assistant for years, and worked closely with the band. This gave him unrivalled insight into Queen. A few years ago, Freestone went to watch It’s a Kinda Magic. After singing his praises for the show he was asked to become the show’s production consultant – making It’s a Kinda Magic a more authentic experience than similar tribute shows.
What is the most powerful message people take away from It’s a Kinda Magic?
For me it’s important the audience can feel they’ve had the most amazing experience of Queen live with Freddie Mercury. For the one’s who are lucky enough to have seen Queen with Freddie singing, they can say “wow that’s taken me back”.
Is the whole band accurately portrayed?
Before I started working exclusively for Freddie, my job entailed looking after the costumes for the whole band, so, yes, I knew them all very well.
Have you studied the audience to see how they react during the show?
For me, the audience is actually more important than what’s happening on the stage. If the audience is on their feet cheering and waving their arms, I know the guys on stage are doing their job properly and on most nights that’s what happens.
What was your favourite shared memory with Freddie Mercury?
I don’t think I can pin it down to one specific memory, but my lasting memories of Freddie all involve him laughing.
When you started as the production consultant for the show, did any aspects of the production change?
Right from the very beginning the producer had his idea for the show which was basically spot on. Maybe a few of the little catchy movements and the finer detail have changed from the original, but it has always been a good show right from the beginning.
What is your favourite part of the show?
In a couple of places the older songs are revisited, like Seven Seas of Rhye. I prefer the ’70s to the ’80s, so when I hear these songs it’s absolutely wonderful.
How do you deal with criticism about you or the show?
Provided the criticism is constructive, I’m open to any criticism anyone wants to give to me. The only time I find criticism offensive, and what is happening more often nowadays, is on social media when you see reactions from people who don’t want their dreams shattered or the truth revealed. If someone can genuinely show me how to improve the show, I’ll listen.