Keeping it in the Les Miserables family, the hugely talented Fra Fee followed Lily Frazer into the ranks of In Profile, both of who were appearing in the ensemble of the West End show at the time.
Fra Fee, who hails from Dungannon, Northern Island, grew up with one foot in the theatrical door as his father was regularly involved in local productions at Coalisland’s CRAIC Theatre and Donaghmore’s Bardic Theatre. Early performances included The Beggar’s Opera, The Mikado, Sweeney Todd, Candide and The Rake’s Progress (Welsh National Opera/Grand Opera House, Belfast), in addition to playing Nemorino in the John Doyle-directed production of The Elixir of Love (Youth Opera Northern Ireland).
He moved to London after he was accepted into the Royal Academy of Music (RAM), appearing in productions of The Vortex and The Winter’s Tale while training there. He graduated from RAM in 2009 and has worked steadily since.
His first professional appearance post-RAM was also his West End début He was cast in the role of Billy Kostecki in the musical Dirty Dancing at the Aldwych Theatre. From there, he joined the 2010 RTE Irish Tour of Fame The Musical as Schlomo and then led the cast of Aladdin in the title role at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin (Nov 2012 – Jan 2011).
Fee then returned to the West End in June 2011 to join the cast of Les Miserables at the Queen’s Theatre. He played the role of Provaire and was also 1st Cover Marius and 2nd Cover Enjolras, playing both of the leading roles on stage. He had previously spoken about Marius being a dream role for him, saying, “Marius is what I’ve wanted to play ever since I can remember.” While part of the company, he too was involved in the Les Mis Gives…at Christmas cabaret at the Delfont Room, and also made an appearance at the Jingle Balls UK cabaret at the same venue later that month. At both of the 2011 cabarets, he performed his ‘The X-mas Factor’ song, accompanying himself on the piano. In retaliation to past years in which the Christmas No. 1 spot has been dominated by non-Christmassy covers from The X-Factor contestants (and Rage Against The Machine), he put together a mash-up of these songs with a unique and entertaining twist on the original lyrics. Hilariously ingenious, a small number of cheekily recorded videos of ‘The X-Mas Factor’ appeared on YouTube and received thousands of views.
It was while he was performing in Les Miserables in the West End that he was offered the opportunity to feature in the big screen adaption of the classic musical. He was given time out from the show to film alongside such stars of the film as Russell Crowe, Eddie Redmayne and Hugh Jackman, playing the role of revolutionary student Courfeyrac. He was one of only two current cast members to appear in the film, although many other alumni of the stage production were also involved, including Samantha Barks who of course played Eponine.
After Les Miserables, he was next seen in Howard Goodall’s A Winter’s Tale playing Florizel, which ran at the Landor Theatre in November/December 2012. In 2013, he played Young Buddy in the Sondheim musical Follies at the Toulon Opera, before joining the cast of A Man of No Importance at Salisbury Playhouse in the role of Robbie. He then took part in a special concert performance of another of Sondheim’s works, A Little Night Music, playing Henrik Egerman in the show at Yvonne Arnaud Theatre. He rounded off the year by winning the title role in the Menier Chocolate Factory’s production of Candide, which ran between 23rd November 2013 and 22nd February 2014. He starred in the acclaimed production alongside such names as Scarlett Strallen and David Thaxton.
His most recent stage appearance was in the principal role of Philip Ashley in Dublin Gate Theatre’s production of My Cousin Rachel, adapted for the stage by Joseph O’Connor at the Dock Street Theatre as part of the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina in the summer of 2014.
He has since been filming the role of Kieran in Tom Lawes’ forthcoming 2015 psychological thriller, Monochrome. He’s previously made television appearances in Heart and Soul (BBC Northern Island) and Ronan Tynan in The Impossible Dream (RTE/PBS America).
Fee featured in the concert on Sunday’s 9th November, West End Recast at the Phoenix Theatre, performing in a line-up which also included such names as Gina Beck, Daniel Boys, Sabrina Aloueche, Michael Matus, Julie Atherton, Jon Robyns and Cynthia Erivo, among others. He is also staging a Sondheim workshop with Anna O’Byrne in Belfast on 13th/14th December 2014 and is appearing in a Christmas Concert in his home town on 21st December 2014. Fans can also look forward to seeing him reprise his role of Henrik in the special one-off concert performance of A Little Night Music next year, which plays at the Palace Theatre on 26th January 2015 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the original production.
With musical fingers that lend themselves to a range of instruments and a strong, richly dulcet tone to his voice, it’s always been a pleasure to see him perform. Fra Fee has been moving forwards in his career ever since his time in Les Miserables, and I see only more good things for him in his future.
You can follow Fra on Twitter: @frafee
By Julie Robinson: @missjulie25
Monday 10th November 2014