ARTRIX welcomes an exceptional tribute act to its stage as Maaike Breijman steps into the shoes of the epic Kate Bush.
It’s an ambitious challenge, but the Dutch-born performance artist and songstress has practised for more than eight long years – and to critical acclaim.
The Standard’s Anu Shukla spoke to her about her upcoming show – Dreaming of Kate – on Saturday (May 28) and what it’s like to be the sensation that is Kate Bush.
Q. What led you to emulate Kate Bush and how long did it take to learn her art and style?
A. People had been comparing me to her for a very long time before I decided – ‘let’s do something with this.’
So the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it and that’s when I really began to study Kate and to feel there might be a chance I could actually do this.
It was quite hard because Kate hasn’t done many performances herself apart from her 1979 tour and then her series of live shows in 2014. So it was quite tough because everything has to be spot on.
In terms of staging though, we perform songs Kate has never actually performed on stage, so it was quite interesting to see how we would figure that out because we had nothing to go on.
Q. How did you overcome that challenge?
A. Her songs are stories in themselves and she creates characters in each song – so I overcame the challenge by finding a character – so it’s not just stepping into Kate, but into her characters.
Q. Have you had a response from Kate?
A. Well not directly from Kate, but we did from Del Palmer, her bass player and former partner. He came to my London show and said he was overwhelmed by the performance.
Q. Did you know he was coming?
A. Yes we did and that was really nerve-racking, but then we spent a long time speaking to him afterwards.
Q. Do you have to be a Kate Bush fan to enjoy the show?
A, What most people don’t realise is you don’t have to like Kate Bush to enjoy the show because it goes beyond that. It’s something we’ve been hearing a lot from the people who get dragged to the show by friends or family (laughs).
Q. Tell us about the set design and the show itself. What can we expect?
A. When she performed two years ago, nobody knew what she would perform – but I had a hunch she would do none of her earlier stuff. So I focused on the earlier material. It’s not a theatre piece with a storyline, it’s more of a graphic performance of Kate Bush’s career, including 18 costume changes.
After the performance is over we’ll, be in the foyer speaking with members of the audience so there will be a chance to connect afterwards.
Q. And what about the costumes – do you have a costume lady?
A, I don’t have a costume lady, so I do all the costume changes and designs myself. I used to love dressing up as a kid, so in a way, it’s like living a childhood dream.
Q. What kind of response has your performance received from audiences?
A. I’ve heard audiences have been quite overwhelmed which is very humbling. One of the nicest compliments was from someone who was once a singer who had quit, but after seeing the show, she went back to singing. To move people, sometimes to tears, and to inspire them, really makes it all worthwhile.