KATE Bush is one of the most influential female artists of all time and yet few music lovers have ever seen her perform live.

Her only tour was in 1979 when the then 19-year-old played just 25 dates in the UK.

Now a new show, WOW, which comes to Manchester Opera House on Thursday will give fans the chance to see what they have been missing.

The task of portraying the enigmatic singer falls to Dutch singer Maaike Breijman who is under no illusions of the challenge ahead.

“Kate Bush is a huge presence in the music industry and I have to do her justice,” she said. “This is a full theatrical show complete with live band and dancers, it is not a tribute act.”

Maaike only heard of Kate Bush after people started comparing her singing voice to the British star when she was performing with various bands around Europe.

“Because I’m Dutch I wasn’t really familiar with Kate Bush and I’d certainly never really tried to sound like her – that is just my voice,” said Maaike.

Unlike the 1979 tour, WOW will cover the whole of Kate Bush’s career.

“That has presented us with some real creative challenges,” said Maaike, “as a number of the songs she never performed live and so we are having to interpret how she would have put them into a live show.”

The show is the brainchild of producer Spike Beecham who said: “It was important to me that this show was treated as if I was putting together a show for Kate Bush.

“We have an amazing live band, and have taken the elements of dance we found in videos and from footage of Kate's one and only tour and used these as a basis for some newly choreographed routines.”

For Maaike, the most nerve-wracking part of the show will be the numbers on which she also plays piano.

“I think any performer worries about the first song,” she said, “but I do play the piano on a pouple which have perhaps given me the most concerns.

“We just want to bring the remarkable catalogue of songs which Kate Bush has to a new audience.

“I've always loved the magic of the theatre – dancing and dressing up – and this project gives me the chance to combine all those things.”

  • WOW – a Celebration of the Music and Artistry of Kate Bush, Manchester Opera House, Thursday, February 28. Details from 0844 871 7660.