Australian performer Trevor Ashley will join Queensland Symphony Orchestra for a gala evening celebrating Dame Shirley Bassey’s 80th birthday and her musical legacy at this year’s Brisbane Festival.
Ashley will take to the QPAC Concert Hall stage next month to perform dozens of classic hits while in character as the music icon, wearing costumes by Oscar-winning Priscilla, Queen of the Desert designer Tim Chappel and supported by a 24-piece orchestra conducted by John Foreman.
In “Diamonds Are For Trevor”, expect to hear “Big Spender”, “Goldfinger”, “Never, Never, Never”, “This is My Life”, ‘History Repeating’ and ‘Diamonds are Forever’ – plus, Ashley says, a few songs the Dame has never got around to singing.
The performer said the show tells the audience details of the Welsh-born singer’s life: dragging herself from her close-to-poverty upbringing in Tiger Bay and becoming a celebrated concert artist.
“This, for me, is my ultimate on-stage role. I love doing this show. I think she’s one of the few major legendary stars that people don’t actually know a whole lot about,” he told ABC Radio.
“Shirley was the youngest of eight, so she started out living in the same bedroom as all of her brothers and sisters. It was very much a true rags-to-riches story. We tell a lot of it through Shirley telling it herself, often by taking the mickey out of her.”
Ashley said he’d been a fan of Bassey ever since discovering her music as a teenager.
“There was a movie that came out called Little Voice, which starred Jane Horrocks from Absolutely Fabulous,” he said.
“In the film she impersonated Shirley Bassey and I thought ‘Who’s she doing?’ I bought the soundtrack featuring the real Shirley Bassey singing and I thought ‘Oh my god, this woman’s amazing.'”
Diamonds Are For Trevor is at QPAC on September 29 as part of the Brisbane Festival, which runs from September 9 to 30. For tickets and details, visit the Brisbane Festival website.