5 minutes with: Jon Robyns - 'My Robbie won't be like Adam Sandler's in The Wedding Singer '
As part of this month's Regional Theatre Focus in Leicester, we talk to musical theatre star Jon Robyns about his upcoming role in The Wedding Singer
I wish I had other skills because then I could think about earning money in different ways. Acting was what I was good at. I trained as a classical singer and had singing lessons from a very young age and then I got a scholarship to Mountview, which made my mind up from the financial consideration. One of the weird things about what we do is that you can't always choose your path: the opportunities present themselves and you either take them or you don't. That's how a career is forged.
I've been waiting for The Wedding Singer for pretty much a year. I am a very big fan of the film and also the show. I re-watched the movie last week and it made me laugh out loud. People love Adam Sandler for being Adam Sandler, so there's no possible way my Robbie could be like his. I wouldn't attempt it. The character has a great journey, because everything is going wonderfully for him to begin with, then it all comes tumbling down. I'm looking forward to working out how to deal with the descent and then the climb again.
It's a nine month tour, but I've just spent most of 2016 on the road, so I'll just repack my bags. Life-work balance takes a bit of a knock when you're on a tour, it's something to get used to, but I'm privileged to be able to do my hobby for a living, so I would never complain about it.
Eleven show weeks were a challenge when I was doing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang earlier this year. There is a point in the show where I'm encased in a box backstage, and on the ninth show of the week I actually fell asleep in it because it was so dark and quiet. The guy who wheeled me out had to knock on the box. It was an incredible year though. I'm not primarily a dancer so the dance was a real challenge for me. There's a four minute tap break in "Old Bamboo" and it took me a while but I got there in the end.
The Wedding Singer will be my hat trick at the Curve in Leicester. It's such a flexible space. They can do enormous things or they can do intimate things. But it's also the mentality that Nikolai Foster and Chris Stafford have established in that building. It's about inclusion, getting the community involved, getting wonderful directors down and being really brave with their choice of programming. It's a fantastic place to work.
The reputation of regional theatres in the last 13 years that I've been working has sky rocketed. Artistic directors like Dan Evans, James Brining and Nikolai have really helped with audiences and musicals have much more respect than they used to. They have a younger mind set than their predecessors and have their fingers on the pulse.
The Wedding Singer runs at Curve, Leicester from 10 to 18 February and then tours the UK.