HE’S big. He’s bold, and he’s bloody true blue.
And now, he’s headed to the Sydney Fringe Festival with his new show, An Ode to Toad.
Often found staking out the local watering hole, Dale Dalefish Rebecchi Stone is a B-Grade Aussie icon – and he’s stoked about it.
"I’m ready to try some experimental grass roots shit with the audiences in Sydney,” he told The Leader in an exclusive interview.
“There will be violence, romance, and some really, really bad law.
“I dunno ‘bout explosive unmissable drama, but it could be, so tell ya readers to tell their neighbours, and buy a ticket.”
Born in rural Victoria in a town called Cockatoo, Dale Stone changed forever when idol Toadfish “Toadie” Rebecchi struck trouble in longtime Aussie soap Neighbours.
“My earliest memory was watching an episode of Neighbours where Toadie was being bullied by a bunch of kids, they were all calling him “Toad boy, toad boy”, I remember him cowering from these bullies – that memory really stayed with me,” Dalefish said.
“I always was proud of Toad, I really related to him, I loved his larrikin ways and I wanted to be exactly like him."
Years later, working as a cleaner at a backpackers in England, Dalefish stumbled across some travellers who made fun of his mullet.
“I just thought, “Wow, this is the moment that Toad was living,” he said.
And so began the journey to emulate his hero.
Dalefish came to Armidale by fluke, when on the way to Brisbane for a Neighbours signing he stopped in for a stand-up comedy night.
“The actor that plays Toadie wasn’t going to be there, so I was on a mission to replace him, stopped in Armidale on my way, did a bit of a stand up gig and had such a good time – got so f-----g wasted that I never made it to Brissy the next day,” he said.
“It’s a nice place.”
And, he’s made an impact on the townsfolk as well.
I’m just a friendly guy with a mullet and in this day and age that’s not taken too well.Dale Dalefish Rebecchi Stone
Unofficially featuring in the Autumn Festival Grand Parade earlier this year Dalefish said the locals have really embraced him.
“I crashed the Autumn Festival parade actually right here out the front of Impies for the block,” he said.
“There was some good clapping, definitely some looks like ‘I don’t know about this’, but that was my own fault because I didn’t have a float.”
Happy in Armidale for the time being, his ultimate goal is to make it to Ramsay Street, meet Toadie and chat to the writers of Neighbours about bringing Toadie’s character back to his youth.
Since partner Dee died, Dalefish said Toadie’s character hasn’t been the same.
“Mate he’s changed for the worst for sure, no one suffers a loss like that and stays the same,” he said.
“Unfortunately for Neighbours and all of Australia, Toadie decided to embrace this inner corporate man.
“They don’t even call him Toadfish anymore, they call him Toadie or Jarrod – that’s just disgusting in my eyes.”
Letting go of his job as a cleaner was one of the hardest decisions he had to make, but he remembers it fondly and said it was a great way to meet people.
“I may have had some complaints that I was a bit of a sleaze, a bit inappropriate,” he said.
“I’m just a friendly guy with a mullet and in this day and age that’s not taken too well.”
But, he said his mum is supportive of his new direction and hopes his father will come around with time.
The decision to change his name from Dale Stone to Dale Dalefish Rebecchi Stone was a hard pill for his family to swallow.
“My dad thinks it’s a bit of a waste of time, I’ve taken a lot of time off work to really pursue this,” he said.
Dalefish hopes to catch a spot in the Sydney Fringe Comedy Festival and step in for Toadie at appearances around the globe.
“I think it would be nice to be acknowledged by the show, I’m basically happy to be his stunt double and I’ve got a mate named Jobi who would love to be on Neighbours so I’m trying to get a foot in the door for her as well,” he said.
“My goal is to get so good at being Toadie that I don’t need to wear the Toad shirt and I can start transitioning into more of his Hawaiian style shirts and quirky bowling shirts.”
Meet Jobi-Zane Pixus Strike, creator of Dale Dalefish Rebecchi Stone
WHEN she’s not dressed as Dalefish, Jobi Strike is still a lovable larrikin.
The Veracity Theatre member studied clowning at the Phillippe Gaulier Clown School in France – and credits and angry french man with her penchant for play.
“That story about the first memory of Dalefish is actually one of my first memories,” she said.
“I hadn’t rehearsed in any way, there was an open mic comedy night up at the University of New England, I had the idea and transformed from Jobi into Dalefish on stage.
“I turned around as Dalefish and it kind of took me by storm, as soon as I turned around with the sunnies and mullet I just felt Dalefish and it really took off.”
The Armidale local hopes to score a spot at the Sydney Fringe Festival in September.
But, her ultimate goal really is to nab a role on Neighbours.
“I would love to be on Neighbours, it’s the most iconic show,” she said. “And, I’m a tacky person, that’s my ultimate goal so okay.
“I’d like to get an actual role, like a chick, but if all I can get is a cameo as a Toadie impersonator I’ll take it.”
Tickets to Dalefish’s show are available at sydneyfringe.iwannaticket.com.au/event/dalefish