Actress rocks stage in Queen musical production

Nicolette Fernandes performing one of the lead characters, Scaramouche, in We Will Rock You.

“Musical theatre is a sport and you’ve got to think like an athlete and an artist at the same time,” says Nicolette Fernandes who plays one of the lead roles in the new musical theatre production, We Will Rock You, being staged at Artscape theatre until Sunday June 4.

Fernandes, who plays the character Scaramouche in the production, was born in Johannesburg, and grew up in Somerset West, with her Portuguese father and Cypriot mother. She is living in Gardens for the duration of the show.

She received her theatre qualifications from the Waterfront Theatre School and since then, she says, she hasn’t looked back.

“I always knew I wanted to do something in the performing arts. I just didn’t know where to start. I started off as a dancer from the age of 3, training and performing at competitions and in shows. Once I did my first musical at 13, the bug bit.”

Theatre performer Nicolette Fernandes

The world tour of Queen and Ben Elton’s multi award-winning rock musical, featuring an all-South African cast, crew and band, began in the Philippines in October 2022.

Fernandes plays Scaramouche, a misunderstood, rebellious girl who is an outcast at her school. She meets Galileo who changes her life and sends her on a journey to find rock and roll and ultimately, save the world.

“My favourite thing about her is her sassy, sarcastic determination to find purpose and to really connect with others despite all the challenges she’s faced. We get to see her grow right in front of our eyes and I think people really see a bit of themselves in her.”

Fernandes says she’s grateful for this opportunity.

“The feeling is unlike any other. I am not only grateful to get to lead an all star South African cast that inspires me everyday but I feel fortunate that I get to be at the forefront of a production of this magnitude and incredibly high standard. I mean, what more could a theatre kid want?”

Fernandes says remaining vocally fit and healthy for the duration of a production is definitely a challenge.

“Freddie Mercury was unlike any other singer in history and his songs are challenging to sing. The biggest challenge has been trying to stay vocally fit and healthy to do his work justice eight shows a week. Musical theatre is a sport and you’ve got to think like an athlete and an artist at the same time but one thing I always try to remind myself is to sing a wrong note is insignificant, but to sing without passion is unforgivable.”

To other aspiring theatre performers, Fernandes says never stop learning and always find joy in whatever you find yourself doing.

Fernandes says We Will Rock You audiences won’t be disappointed.

“If you’re expecting a carbon copy Queen tribute show with Freddie Mercury lookalikes, you’ve come to the wrong place. Our show takes the magic of Queen’s iconic music and pairs it with a fantastically fictional story that will touch every heart and soul in the house. People have been waiting for theatre to return in full force – to be wowed by incredible singing, magnificent dancing, world class lighting and costumes, and iconic rock and roll.”

Fellow Capetonian, Stuart Brown, from Hout Bay, plays the other lead role of Galileo, the dreamer who hears strange words in his head.

Shows on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays are at 8pm, with Saturday performances at 3pm and 8pm; and on Sundays at 2pm and 6pm. Tickets cost from R200 to R500 with special discounts on Tuesdays from R100 to R350.

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