Danny’s Stayin’ Alive in new show

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There are certainly worse showbiz footsteps to follow in than those of John Travolta.

But after achieving fame by winning the role of Danny Zuko in a West End production of Grease through ITV’s Grease is the Word back in 2007, Danny Bayne is now tackling another iconic part made famous by the American actor.

He is playing Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton from Tuesday until Saturday, January 10.

Recalling his big break, Danny says: ‘It was my kickstart, I’m forever grateful for it, it was brilliant and one hell of a ride – I was only 19.

‘It’s just one of those things, once you’ve played Danny, and I did that for three-and-a-half years in total, you want to move on.

‘Although it’s another John Travolta part – it must be something about my face,’ he jokes, ‘if you come to see the show, you’ll see why it’s very different. It’s a play with music and dancing. The script is so good, it turns it into more of a play.

‘Our version is very true to the film, it’s not the original West End production. It’s very gritty.’

Set in New York in 1976, Tony Manero, a young man from a tough Brooklyn neighbourhood with a dead-end job and an extraordinary ability to dance, has only one ambition in life – to become the disco king.

This new staging is packed with the Bee Gees hits including the classics Stayin’ Alive, Night Fever, Jive Talking, How Deep is Your Love? and You Should Be Dancing.

But this isn’t the first time Danny’s tackled the role – he played Tony for six months on a cruise ship in the Caribbean.

‘It was lovely,’ Danny recalls. ‘The audience were terrific, and it’s probably not what you were expecting from a cruise ship – the cast were very high standard.

‘This is a completely different production company though, so I did have to audition. And it was a tough process – it was five or six auditions in seven days.

‘I turned down another job on a ship to wait and see if I got this job, and it paid off, thankfully. Sometimes you’ve got to take that chance.’

While the show may test Danny’s acting, he also has plenty of opportunity to return to his dancing roots. As a teenager he was British Champion in Freestyle, Hip Hop, Latin American and Rock‘n’Roll.

‘The dancing I do in this show is mental,’ he adds. ‘Although it’s a very heavy acting show, it’s ridiculously heavy on the dancing.

‘Andrew Wright, the choreographer, is brilliant. The stuff he’s come up with is amazing, it’s a mix between ’70s hustling, and a sort of salsa-based jazz dance.’

Tickets cost from £25 to £39. Go to mayflower.org.uk or call 023 8071 1811.