Wayne Scott Kermond is theatre.
Born into a long line of vaudeville-style entertainers, Wayne has spent his life on stage, forging a career as one of Australia’s leading ‘song and dance’ men.
Well known for his portrayal of Cosmo Brown in the 2001 production of Singing in the Rain, Kermond (pictured mid flight, right) has performed in musicals, cabarets and solo shows for many, many years.
Having most recently appeared in The Production Company’s Anything Goes (with Singing in the Rain co-star Todd McKenney), Kermond has embraced his ‘veteran’ status with alacrity. “I was first called a veteran in a review for Anything Goes”, he laughed “Todd McKenny and I were mentioned in a review as “the two veterans”. We looked at each other and said “Wow we’ve obviously crossed some sort of line now!”
This September, Kermond brings an exciting show called Underdogs, to the Glen Street Theatre, Sydney nearly 12 years after the show appeared at the very same theatre under a different title: Jive Junkys.
After re-working, re-developing, re-casting, and re-choreographing the piece, Kermond is confident that the show (which was invited to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2000 and received the much coveted Pick of the Fringe Award) will appeal to everyone.
“It’s a book show – there is a written story, but it’s a very simple premise”, he said. “Nothing too deep and meaningful – it’s a lot of buffoonary, great songs great dance and a lot of fun”.
In a nutshell, the show is based around four Aussie blokes who audition for a show, and have to put it together in 2 days. Set in a run-down rehearsal studio, complete with ballet barre and couches, Act 1 traces the rehearsal process of these four men who have spent their lives in the chorus. Act 2 is the ‘performance’ and is set in the showroom of a cruise ship, which Kermond jokes is no QEII!
“The audience get to know the characters in the first act, and the second act is the characters performing their show on a wing and a prayer. It’s physical, it’s song and dance and there is a lot of vaudeville and slapstick in the piece. It’s what I do, it’s what know… I figure stick with it, if you’re onto a good thing”, said Kermond.
Starring Andrew Marshall, Dale Pengelly, Rohan Seinor and Wayne Scott Kermond, Underdogs is what Kermond describes as “pure entertainment”.
“What people seem to love about the show is the combination of song and dance, and the comedy aspect”, he explained.
Being an original piece of Australian theatre, the performers are able to utlise the Australian sense of humour and vernacular. With so many shows these days imported from the USA, Kermond relishes the opportunity to perform in his own accent and style.
“It’s nice to do a show where we can just be ourselves and use our Australian language”, he quipped.
Originally choreographed by Christopher Horsey, the piece has been re-vamped by Wayne’s wife, fellow performer, director and prodcer Katie Kermond.
Underdogs will be musically directed by Robert Bertram, who is no stranger to the stage himself, having understudied the roles of Raoul (Phantom of the Opera) and Paul Keating (Keating! the Musical). Kermond explains that the music chosen for the show has a real raw-jive feel.
“Joe Jackson did an album called Jumpin Jive about 20 years ago. [My wife] Katie had the album, and it really influenced me. It’s very raw. It’s the Jazz music of Fats Waller and Louis Jordan, but it has a great jive swing about it. That’s basically the style of music we use in the show”.
For those who aren’t in Sydney, fear not! Kermond hints that the Underdogs team do hope to tour the show around the country following the Glen Street season. With a minimal set, four actors and a musical director, the show is perfect for touring.
“We’ve done some rewrites – and we are obviously a few years older than last time” he laughs, “but the intention is to get a regional tour and a capital city tour.”
“I think the main thing about the show is that people want to come along and see a fun show – pure entertainment – and a few veterans doing what they do well.”
Underdogs is playing at the Glen Street Theatre, Cnr Glen St and Blackbutts Rd, Belrose. Dates 6 – 17 September, 2011
Times Tues – Sat 8pm, Sat 2pm, Sun 5pm, plus Wed 14 Sept at 11am
Bookings 02 9975 1455 www.glenstreet.com.au