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Hooked IN

Think Local

Soon to be treading the boards of Shore School's Smith Auditorium Lyric Theatre, this will be Toby's first production in the big wide world, working with adults as opposed to fellow high school mates.

The Redlands student tells North Shore Living, "I'm so excited my debut performance in comic opera is with Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Sydney.

"I'm playing the Sergeant of Police and, to prepare for the audition, I learnt one of the Sergeant's songs. I'd just played Captain Hook in the annual Redlands Musical so I explained how I had approached that gloriously funny and eccentric musical theatre character.

"They played some music and asked me to move like I thought the Sergeant would. I knew he was a comedy character so I incorporated some moves I thought they would laugh at." Thankfully, they did. Toby attends Victoria Watson's Vocal Studio and is an active member of Redlands' Advanced Choir and Jan Vocal Ensemble. He also studies drama as a curriculum subject and participates in the school's musical productions, talent showcases and competitions, where he's won a number of awards.

And, like many North Shore locals, Toby - who has a baritone voice - reveals he practises his songs in the shower.

"I don't sing whole songs though," he laughs. "Just the very low bits - I really enjoy the reverb that low notes make in the bathroom! My bass voice means I'm more suited to the comic character sidekick or villain roles, so, I'll probably never have a 'romantic' opposite.

"When I played Captain Hook in Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure, I worked closely with Zoe Mamo who played Smee. We spent lots of time working on our characters together -Hook was never on stage without Smee at his side!"

Having participated in Open courses at NIDA and the Australian Theatre for Young People since he was six-years-old, Toby has always been passionate about the performing arts.

He cites American comic icons like Robin Williams, Bill Murray and Billy Crystal as inspiration, and is developing his comedy theatre, stand-up and singing skills.

"The musical theatre actors I like are Anthony Warlow and Teddy Tahu Rhodes," he adds. "I admire Teddy's classical singing, which I can only aspire to.

"I loved Jack Chambers as Cosmo in Singing in the Rain and thought James Millar as Miss Trunchbull in Matilda was fantastic.

"I really enjoy how acting gives you the chance to pretend to be different characters. You never know what character is coming next, but you know whoever they are, it will be different - and that's fun."


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