Brendan Moar on ballet tights, Fat Swan and life in the theatre

Fat Swan. Image by Blueprint Studios
Fat Swan. Image by Blueprint Studios

As the cast of Trevor Ashley’s Helpmann Award nominated “Adults Only Panto” Fat Swan prepare for their first show tomorrow night in Melbourne, we speak with Brendan Moar about his involvement in the production…

The Melbourne season of Fat Swan is not your first – what is it about working on this adults only show that keeps you coming back? 

Trevor (Ashley) is a lot of fun. Unlike a lot of people in showbusiness, what you see on stage is more or less what you get in real life. He’s boisterous, unpredictable and generally keeps everyone laughing.

Now you have a taste for the musical pantomime do you see more stage work in your future? 

Before I worked on television, I did work in musical theatre, so it’s not new to me. I’m not opposed to the idea of doing more stage work, but it has been a long time between drinks, shall we say.

Your thoughts on ballet tights?

As a man gets beyond 40 years of age, the idea of wearing ballet tights gets more challenging day by day.

What do you think it the most distinct difference between performing for stage and for television?

Television is a slower process.When you’re on stage you have the audience right there, and the response is immediate. With television, you tend to focus on individual parts and then assemble it all in post-production. Fat Swan though is quite unlike any stage thing I’ve ever been a part of – the audience response from the very first second to the very end is always the same – big, loud, laughing.

Fat Swan. Image by Blueprint Studios
Ballet tights and dancing shoes! Fat Swan. Image by Blueprint Studios

Ok. Let’s get down to business – tell us a little about your character Vincent. 

Vincent is arrogant, lewd, manipulative, self-serving. All the things you’d expect from someone working in showbusiness.

Fat Swan is a comedy – is there a significant amount of hilarity off stage as well as on? (You all look like you’re having such fun!)

It’s the kind of show where the on stage behaviour is infectious, and that tends to create a fun mood on and off stage.

Is there much room for improvisation, or will the audience see much the same show every night?

There is order in the chaos, but Trevor is the star so he tends to set the cue for improvisation. If he goes off script, we follow. But if we go too far with improvisation, it tends to upset the rhythm of the show, so we try to keep that in check. Having said that, the improvisation is what makes the show so much fun to do.

After the show finishes of an evening, what do you do to wind down? Glass of Wine? Cup of tea? Cheese?

(d) all of the above. Preferably at the same time. And like any show, there is always a post-show analysis of all the things that went spectacularly wrong in the best possible way.

 What’s next for you after Fat Swan at Arts Centre Melbourne?

Stage wise, who knows. And on television, there are a couple of things in development.

Finally, a question we ask most of our interviewees… Who is your show crush?  

It’s a weird thing, but in spite of having to pash Trevor Ashley three times in every performane, when Daneille Barnes is doing her Winona Writeoff, I find her strangely appealing.

Fat Swan is playing at Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre, Melbourne from September 26 – October 6.

Book tickets Online or Call 1300 182 183

Erin James

Erin James is's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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