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High energy ... Fame The Musical.
Photo: Pat Scala

Perils of Fame - staying safe while flying high

April 22, 2010

YOU want fame? Well, fame costs. And the cast of Fame, the high-energy musical that opened at the Regent Theatre last night, aren't just paying in sweat. Think exhaustion, pain, and the risk, every night, that one heavy landing might cost them their careers.

That's why physiotherapist Sam Peasnell from Absolute Physiotherapy has been working with the cast for the past four weeks. He's not only tending to knees, wrists, necks and backs, but consulting director-choreographer Kelley Abbey, and working with dancers to discover the safest way to fly high without crash landing.

''Fame's dance moves are really quite ballistic,'' says Peasnell, ''and they're dancing from whoa to go with very little rest.

''But the dancers are all really aware of their bodies and what they can do, and they recover really quickly. Our job is just keeping them together.''

Sobriety is the price of fame for 22-year-old lead Timomatic (full name Tim Omaji), who plays the role of truculent streetwise dancer Tyrone Jackson, the musical's equivalent of the film version's beloved Leroy.

''Maybe when I've been in the role a few weeks and I really have the role in me? Then I can kick back. Right now, I'm sticking to the apple juice, the orange juice, and getting my eight hours [sleep].''

Discovered when his hip-hop moves got him into the finals of last year's So You Think You Can Dance, Timomatic was never one to worry about fitness before he was cast in this show. But performing eight times a week has taught him rigour and endurance.

''Even before we started rehearsing, I was in the gym building up strength. That's mainly to stay the distance, but also I have to wear these really tiny shorts like I haven't worn since Little Athletics. I need to look the part.''



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