RE­BORN TO RULE

The Courier-Mail - QWeekend - - STAGE - RE­BECCA ISAACS

Casey Dono­van is back with a bang. She’s been idolised, mocked, cel­e­brated and cat­fished, but there’s one role Dono­van has never played – that of a vil­lain.

That will change when the 2004 Aus­tralian Idol win­ner por­trays the evil, mu­sic-hat­ing Killer Queen in the new-look stag­ing of Ben El­ton mu­si­cal We Will Rock You.

“She’s the ruler of the iPlanet, a vil­lain­ess with a sexy, sassy, dom­i­na­trix side, who has pro­hib­ited mu­si­cal in­stru­ments and rules with an iron fist,” the 28-year-old Dono­van says. “She’s feisty and I love it … (she’s) all big heels and big hair.”

The the­atri­cal ode to 1970s-’80s rock band Queen tells the story of young bo­hemi­ans fight­ing to re­store free thought and live mu­sic to the iPlanet.

This will be the sec­ond time the mu­si­cal has been staged in Aus­tralia and for Dono­van, it’s an ex­cel­lent op­por­tu­nity to re­turn to the limelight af­ter spend­ing a few years off the radar.

“I sup­pose I have been find­ing my feet again, re­assess­ing my ca­reer,” she says. “For the past four to five months I have ac­tu­ally been driv­ing a com­mu­nity bus in Western Syd­ney for Abo­rig­i­nal el­ders. I was plan­ning to take this year off from singing, lie low and write an al­bum, but then We

Will Rock You came through and it’s all fall­ing into place again,” she says.

Dono­van is a woman who seems to di­vide peo­ple – you either love her or you don’t. Re­gard­less, there’s no deny­ing she’s a ballsy artist, full of spirit and al­ways keen to push bound­aries.

Of her sta­tus as a larger per­former, she says: “It’s al­ways a chal­lenge be­ing the big­gest per­son in the room but you just have to let that go and think, I can do this. All it takes is be­lief and a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude.”

We Will Rock You will be the long­est-run­ning mu­si­cal Dono­van has ap­peared in (she’s also starred in Rent and The Sap­phires) and it’s so far prov­ing a for­mi­da­ble chal­lenge.

“Mu­si­cals are such hard work but you’re al­ways learn­ing,” she says.

And as for her favourite Queen song? Dono­van says she’s yet to set­tle on any one track. “But I’ve got to say, I do love An­other One Bites

the Dust – it’s such a big and ballsy song.”

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