Maverick Newman takes Finding Felix to the Butterfly Club this week

Maverick Newman in Finding Felix
Maverick Newman in Finding Felix

Direct from his sold out world premier season at the Perth FringeWorld festival, Maverick Newman is bringing Finding Felix: A Memoir to The Butterfly Club in Melbourne for one week only.

Finding Felix: A Memoir follows the hilarious Felix Bright on his inspiring and slightly self-entitled pilgrimage through modern Australia. This satirical one-man cabaret touches on the real issues of society; redheads, football, kidnapping and love.

We had a quick chat with Maverick, who is currently a second year Musical Theatre student at WAAPA about the show a few days before he arrived in Melbourne:

In the show we follow the story of Felix Bright. How much of the story is biographical?

It’s definitely Felix’s journey, he’s basically based of a 17 year old version of me (but on crack) and there are a few winks to my life but it’s not overly autobiographical.

When did the concept of the show start for you? When / why did you write it?

I had success with a play I wrote in 2015 with the student production grant and so once I got to WAAPA, I really wanted to just keep writing and so I started writing a play that centred on a kid coming out an the difficulties he faced, after a few drafts there was something wrong, I looked back and went, omg, this kid (the protagonist) is literally just a self-entitled brat – no one wants to see that. And so I then took the drama and flipped it into a one man comedy that I could try and get up for Perth fringe this year and so Felix was created!

When I was growing up, most queer media/film/theatre was about the oppression we face and I now believe that as a society we’re past that and now need to start creating work that doesn’t focus on the oppression, so hence I created Felix, who secretly just wants his turn to have a piece of theatre about how hard his life is, (when it’s really not) so in a way it’s a critique of queer media.

Second year at WAAPA is notoriously difficult and busy. How do you find the time for an extra project?

Second year is crazy and luckily I had the piece written and the fringe run was over before second year really got rolling It was extremely difficult to juggle all the paperwork that comes with setting the show up for this [Melbourne] season whilst doing WAAPA, and working!

Being at WAAPA can be both geographically and professionally isolating. Is this sort of mid course something you would recommend to others?

I actually think that WAAPA’s isolation is it’s biggest asset. We are free from the constraints of other commitments, basically all of us are from interstate and so we don’t have any other friends or family, which means we have the opportunity to give 100% to WAAPA.

I think the freedom from the industry is super helpful because we all come to drama school to make mistakes and trip up, and its extremely safe when you don’t have a casting director in the room all the time. Then to be able to learn from industry professionals who come over – Jason Langley and Lisa O’Dae just directed / choreographed us in 42nd Street, provides a great balance of connection and isolation with the industry.

What is next for the show after the Melbourne Season?

Hopefully, I get to to tour the show to Sydney but I do have to keep WAAPA my no. 1 focus for the next 18 months.

Show Details:

Dates: 11th-16th July
Time: 5:30pm
Cost: $25-32
Venue: The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne

Matt Edwards

Matt is a past owner of AussieTheatre, working as digital director from 2011 to 2019. He is also a performer, most recently appeared in the Australian tour of Mamma Mia! and previously in the Australian/NZ tour of CATS and Enda Markey's acclaimed production of Blood Brothers. As well as performing Matt keeps himself busy in the digital side of the arts working with web design agency Emptyhead Digital

Matt Edwards

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