By John Przybys
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL
Q: How long have you been with "Thunder from Down Under"?
A: I’ve been there for just about 13 years.
Q: How did you get into dancing?
A: I fell into it, actually. I was working at a health and fitness center in Melbourne, Australia, and one of the guys came in. He was looking for a membership. I helped him out and he said, "Why don’t you try out for ‘Thunder from Down Under’? I was like, ‘Yeah, all right.’ "
Q: It must have been fate.
A: Absolutely. I went to an interview and two weeks after that I was rehearsing, and two weeks after that I was dry retching backstage, getting ready to do my first performance.
Q: But you had no previous dance experience?
A: No. Actually, I was doing my master’s in physical science. I grew up in a small country town of about 300 people in central New South Wales, so it was a complete culture shock to me.
Q: Did they have routines already choreographed for you, so you just had to learn them?
A: Absolutely. I had some very good dance instructors. And the show has evolved a lot, so now you really have to be very much (trained) in formal dance to come into the show. But back then it was a little different.
Q: What do you do in the show?
A: There are group routines and there are several solo routines. And that’s when I do my character.
Q: You’re a fireman.
Q: Have you ever gotten feedback from real firemen? Do they take what you do as a compliment?
A: I guess so (laughs). I don’t really know. But they’re the true heroes, that’s for sure.
Q: Do you like performing in "Thunder"?
A: Absolutely. It was something I never considered, but being paid to travel the world, and then to work in Las Vegas at Excalibur, it’s just great. Absolutely, it’s a dream come true.
Q: Where have you performed?
A: In Vegas, we’ve been at Excalibur for nearly 10 years. Prior to that, we toured the world, so I’ve been all through Europe and Mexico and New Zealand and Asia and South Africa.
Q: What’s the wildest reaction you’ve gotten from audiences?
A: Mexico was by far the loudest and scariest reaction. When you go there, we have a lot of audience participation, and you’re not sure you’re ever going to come back on the stage.
Q: You know, for most guys, going into a crowd of women and never coming back is pretty much the fantasy.
A: I’ll tell you the truth, it’s a fantastic job. Just to go to a job every day that makes people happy is fantastic. I go to the bank just like everybody else and you see someone in line yelling at the teller, I just thank my lucky stars I get to go to a job where people come into the showroom and they always leave with a smile. It’s just a lot of fun.Meet Matthew Fardell
Dancer/company manager, “Thunder From Down Under”
Hometown: Sydney, Australia