📷 : Michael Wharley
After touring with Sunset Boulevard a couple of years ago, Barney Wilkinson joined the cast of Bat Out of Hell at the Dominion Theatre West End in the role of Hoffman and Understudy Strat where he made numerous appearances as the main character. Barney will now be heading overseas to appear as Young Gideon in The Last Ship which features original music and lyrics by Sting. Catching up with Barney this week, he tells us about his Bat Out of Hell experience, touring with Sunset Boulevard and his future role in The Last Ship.
How much rehearsal time did you have for your role of Hoffman in Bat Out of Hell?
I had about three weeks to learn the role of Strat first and then I learnt the ensemble as I went along. I was put into each number until I was eventually in the whole show!
What was it like having this show as your West End debut?
Incredible. I will never forget it.
What did you enjoy most about being cast as Hoffman?
The workout of doing All Revved Up every night!
As Understudy Strat, how did it feel performing in this role for the first time?
Unbelievable. I loved every single second of it. The chance to sing those songs alongside the rest of the cast was amazing!
Have you had any unplanned/funny moments whilst on stage?
My most recent was in Bat Out of Hell. There’s a pool on the stage and it was exposed for the entire show (about 4/5ft deep) and the first thing the director said to me was, “just don’t fall in that pool, no-one has done it yet”.
I fell in the pool.
During the song, You Took The Words Right Out of My Mouth, I did a backward roll and slipped and fell straight into the pool. Much to the delight of the rest of the cast and the audience!
How did it feel playing Strat for the final time?
Again, it felt amazing as I didn’t have to save any energy to do it again so I could go full steam ahead!
What was the atmosphere like on closing night?
Unfortunately, I caught a bug/virus and missed the last night. I was gutted. But it looked like an incredible night.
How long were you touring with Sunset Boulevard?
I was on tour for nine months!
Was this your first professional stage role and how did you find the show?
It was my first job and I loved every second of it. I learned a hell of a lot. Especially from the superstar that is Ria Jones. What a legend!
Had you always wanted to be a stage actor?
No, not really. I was never really 100% on what I wanted to be but a series of events and getting involved in amateur dramatics when I was about seventeen made me realise I wanted to be an actor!
Was there anything that drew you to musical theatre?
Not particularly. I guess I just enjoyed doing it!
How did you find attending Royal Conservatoire of Scotland?
Amazing. It was some of the best three years of my life. I had an absolute blast and met some friends for life.
Have rehearsals started for The Last Ship and if so, how are they going?
Yes, they have! Going well so far, it’s a class show. I’m so happy to be a part of it.
Will this be your first time of performing overseas?
No. I was lucky enough to go to Amsterdam and Italy with Sunset Boulevard! I cannot WAIT to go to Canada!
Do you have any future roles booked as yet?
Nope! We’ll just have to wait and see.
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