Joining the cast of West End’s Bat Out of Hell, Wayne Robinson played the role of Jagwire opposite Danielle Steers as Zahara, where he stayed until the show’s closure in January this year. Wayne recently appeared in the cast of the Fats Waller musical Ain’t Misbehavin’ at both the Mercury Theatre in Colchester and Southwark Playhouse in London, and as a singer-songwriter, is currently working on new material. Answering our questions, Wayne speaks about performing as Jagwire, his time in Ain’t Misbehavin’ and being a singer-songwriter.
How was your time in the cast of Ain’t Misbehavin’?
It was a new experience for me working with such a small cast. The creative team also experiencing their roles for the first time was a great challenge for all. I enjoyed the time spent, the relationships we created – we shared the same goal and we were protective of this.
What was it like meeting the rest of the cast and crew, and had you worked with any of them previously?
I hadn’t worked with any of the cast or crew before, but I knew Adrian Hansel. I wondered if we’d actually share the same stage on a production, as we’re usually cast for similar roles. The ladies were just wonderful – Landi Oshinowo, Renée Lamb and Carly Mercedes Dyer. We just got on very well and had the utmost respect for one another. The cast and team were perfect – it was a winning hand.
Did you have a favourite part of the show to perform?
One of the best things about this production was the creative freedom we received. Tyrone Huntley was a great first-time director and encouraged our individuality to be explored through the characters, which made it easier to find a connection with each role. Viper’s Drag was a number I was able to just lose myself in, but I loved when we all came together, especially in the opening when all individual characters were presented.
What was Bat Out Of Hell at the Dominion Theatre like to be part of?
I’ve never been part of a show with such a loyal fanbase. Crazy! I had no idea what I was getting involved in! It was only after a few weeks into the run I witnessed the overwhelming support from them. I even at times had to dodge stage door after a show to avoid the madness. Loved it though and that theatre holds a special place for me. It all happened so fast. It was a good ride and the costumes were sick! Plus, I had the most expensive pants made on the entire production apparently!
How would you describe Jagwire and what was he like to portray?
Jagwire is a romantic young anarchist and someone you can go to if you want hard truths to be told. He looks after himself and all that he cares for, and would go to extreme lengths to protect them and what he believes in. I just described myself! Seriously though, I just had to play myself doing this role, what can I say!?
Do you have a stand-out moment from your time in the show?
Working with Miss Danielle Steers and doing those duets was just yummy. Meeting Meat Loaf was definitely a moment I will never forget too.
Can you tell us about touring with Save the Last Dance for Me?
I can tell you that I missed the first half of the tour because on the last day of rehearsal I snapped my Achilles and had to sit on the sidelines for four months! But coming back and working with Elizabeth Carter was wonderful. Antony Costa kept the laughs on and we had a great time together touring. The audience seemed to really enjoy the show wherever we went.
How was your experience in Thriller Live?
Michael Jackson’s songs are by far the hardest I have ever had to sing, so overcoming this challenge was a big step up for me to begin with, especially singing about nine of them. Touring Australia and New Zealand was the main attraction with the role. Travelling so far and doing what you enjoy at the same time is just life to me – and Thriller Live gave me that opportunity. Gary Lloyd is great to work with and the cast were lovely.
You’ve performed at Southwark Playhouse a couple of times, what do you enjoy about this venue?
I love the location, the intimacy, and the fact that it’s a respected smaller venue that puts on quality performances. You don’t have to pay lots of money to witness a good show here and I love that. The staff are really cool too. I’ve just got nice memories of the place.
You’ve performed many music genres including Rock and Jazz, do you have a favourite style to listen to?
Actually, these days my radio and TV are set to Classic FM and that’s generally on if it’s not Coltrane or some chilled music in the evening. I prefer to listen to instrumental work to encourage my skills as a songwriter.
As a singer-songwriter, are you currently working on any music?
Yes. I am writing and have recorded some experimental songs that I aim to do something with. When the opportunity is presented, I’ll have the ammo to showcase them.
Where did your musical theatre career start?
It started as a choice when I took advice from a friend who encouraged me to think of musical theatre as a career. This materialised when I went to my first open audition – it was for The Lion King and I met casting director Pippa Ailion for the first time, who told me I was a natural. I got to the finals and then instead achieved the role of Simba in the Disneyland Paris production.
What do you enjoy most about your career?
Every character that I have played, every experience I have encountered, has been somewhat related to me and my growth in some way or another. I love that my career has been so organic and each challenge just that bit more of a challenge than the last. What I enjoy is that just simply following your excitement never lets you down if you do it honestly. My career so far is proof of this philosophy.
What are your plans for the upcoming months?
I’m not much the planner, I tend to just go with the flow, deal with things as naturally as possible. At present, I’m performing and working on original material. The next adventure will present itself soon enough.