What's It Like To Be Fantine In Les Misérables?

Australian theatre star Patrice Tipoki on playing the tragic role

Based on your impressive CV, you’re no stranger to musicals…

Patrice Tipoki I’ve played Elphaba in the original Australian production of Wicked, Nala in Disney’s The Lion King and Maria in West Side Story

What will you bring to the iconic role of Fantine? 

PT I first saw Les Misérables as a child, so playing Fantine has been a journey for me. As a mother myself, I know what it’s like to want the best for your daughter. Fantine’s drive is universal — I can relate to that. 

What’s the most difficult thing about this role?

PT Fantine spends a lot of her time on the floor and singing up at people and the audience. Physically, that puts me in a hyper-extended position while singing — I do that eight times a week, which can take its toll. Plus, I’m wearing a corset! 

You sing the haunting I Dreamed A Dream. Why is the song so well-loved?  

PT It’s so beautiful musically, and such an iconic song because everyone can relate to it. We all know what it’s like to have challenges and to yearn for times when things were better. 

Speaking of family, what’s it like to perform on the stage with your sister Laura conducting this production?

PT There’s nothing like working with family. I’ve done it all my life and to share this experience with my sister Laura is so special. We breathe together at the beginning of musical phrases and are sensitive to each other’s needs. The synchronicity is
pretty cool!

Catch Cameron Mackintosh’s Les Misérables, at Esplanade Theatre, 31 May to 17 Jul. Tickets $58 to $228, from Sistic.

Photos: broadwayworld.com, aussietheatre.com.au

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