World Premiere Musical Satirises Reality Show Contestants

World Premiere Musical Satirises Reality Show Contestants

WITH Australian Idol, The Voice, Australia’s Got Talent, The X Factor and Popstars all producing a variety of winners for more than a decade, is there an over-abundance of reality show singers?

It’s a question explored in the world premiere of Falling To The Top at Playlovers (WA) this August and September, a new musical written by director Tyler Jones and musical director Robert Wood.

Described as a “fast and funny look at fame, fortune and the lack of talent required to make it to number one”, it follows four rejected reality television contestants who form The Divalettes, a sassy girl group.

Salli-Ann, Tonya, FonDue and Feliciabel all experienced 15 minutes of fame on the TV show Pop Rocket and join forces to increase their chances of success.

Jones said the musical was a personal challenge for him – he wanted to start a writing project and actually finish it.

“I found a brilliant and creative collaborator in Robert Woods and we set about writing what was originally intended to be a very simple one-act show,” he said.

“A last-minute cancellation at Playlovers gave us the opportunity to stage a full season of the work and, very quickly, the project ballooned into something much bigger than either of us anticipated.

“I've always had a fascination with stories that combine showbiz glamour with backstage intrigue.

“This, combined with the continued popularity of reality talent shows on TV, inspired the subject matter.” 

Admitting Falling To The Top has a strong satiric edge, Jones says there are more than a few jabs at the pop music industry – but all in good, light-hearted fun.

“The Divalettes were partly inspired by The Young Divas,” he said. “I remember reading an article suggesting reality shows had so overpopulated the music industry that solo artists were forced to band together in a group just to survive.

“It seemed like such a ridiculous, dramatic premise: popstars forming packs to hunt for success.”

First becoming involved in theatre in high school, Jones has performed in productions over the past seven years including Everything Must Go, Seussical, Eurobeat, bare, Jonah, Spamalot and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. He was named best director of a musical at the 2011 Finley Awards for Side Show.

Falling To The Top was conceived to play more like an extended music video than a conventional musical with non-stop energy, lightning-quick costume changes and rapid scene transitions,” Jones said.

“Staging the show has been a real creative challenge but the cast's commitment to the intense physical nature of the production has made it an exciting piece to work on.”

Falling To The Top plays at 8pm, August 24, 25, 31, September 1, 7 and 8 with a 2pm matinee September 2.

Tickets are $20, $15 concession – book on 0415 777 173 or bookings@playlovers.org.au. Please note: this show contains coarse language and adult themes.

Playlovers is located at Hackett Hall, Draper Street (off Underwood Avenue), Floreat. More information available at www.playlovers.org.au.

Images: Claire Taylor, Kimberley Harris, Breeahn Jones and Maria Velletri are The Divalettes in the world premiere of Falling To The Top.

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