RAY Quinn plays Wall Street bad boy Glenn in a musical theatre adaptation of the 1998 film starring Adam Sandler. Set in 1985, The Wedding Singer is based around rock-star wannabee Robbie Hart (played by Jon Robyns) who is dumped at the altar. Quinn first came to public attention in his role as tormented child Anthony in Brookside before finishing runner-up to Leona Lewis on The X Factor in 2006. He won Dancing on Ice in 2009. EDWIN GILSON caught up with him.

The show is overwhelmingly 80s but you weren’t born until the end of that decade. Do you still get swept up in 80s fever?

Oh, absolutely. I’ve got a massive guilty pleasure when it comes to the 80s, all the fashion and music. I love it, like. My dad plays a lot of 80s music but I discovered a lot myself too.

You play a Wall Street bad boy. Is it fun to don the braces and take on that kind of villainous role?

Yeah, definitely. It’s a very different role to what I’ve played before. I’ve played the arrogant, cocky kid – like Danny from Grease – but I’ve never played the villain. There was one time when I went out on stage and got booed. I thoroughly enjoyed that because I’m not used to it.

Is there a danger your character could become a pantomime villain, though?

It’s not a serious play so I’m not worried about that. It’s fun and a good night out, like Dirty Dancing or The Full Monty. You don’t take musicals too seriously unless it’s Les Miserables. This isn’t a bubble-gum musical but it stands on its own as a comedy show. If you want to boo you can boo.

Did you take inspiration from any other well-known Wall Street slickers?

I watched Wolf of Wall Street quite a few times. I do love that film and I try to base my character on the role that Leonardo Di Caprio played because he’s just great. It’s that typical 80s bad boy with all his greed. It eventually caught up with him.

Did you get your American accent from the Wolf of Wall Street, too?

I’ve done American accents for a while so I know what I’m doing. You also learn a lot from hanging around with other people in the show and studying their accents.

Do you tend to favour musicals because they allow you to sing, act and even dance – all things that we’ve seen you do before on TV?

It was a natural progression because of my background as a kid. I went to college and did musical theatre and dance lessons. I started dancing when I was three. Singing came last, when I was about 12. I wasn’t always primarily a singer but that’s ironically what I’m known for. Going into the West End wasn’t easy but it felt natural.

Your role in Brookside involved a lot of harrowing plotlines. Was it ever disturbing to be at the centre of those stories?

I think I was so young I didn’t know anything else, so I did what I was told. I don’t think I even knew I was getting paid – I just thought it was a bit of fun. I was just soaking it all up and meeting fantastic people who have all stayed with me through my life. I still see them and say hello.

Why did you audition for The X Factor after that?

My mum and dad sent off for the audition form without me knowing. We had about three leaflets come through the door at three different times. I thought my parents had deliberately asked for the leaflet three times. The postman told me it was an omen. I went, ‘alright then, for God’s sake, I’ll do it’.

Were you initially annoyed at your parents for doing that behind your back?

No, because the year before we were all watching Shane Ward win and I said ‘I could do that, of course I could’. I was acting like a big-time Charlie with my chicken chow-mein.

You said in another interview that you weren’t concerned with the X Factor result. Was getting to the final a victory in itself?

I didn’t want to be involved in the show if I was just known as the kid from the X Factor. I wanted something out of it and to get to the final was my something. Everything after was a bonus – like getting to number one and selling 330,000 copies of my debut album. I was only 18 – it was a mental change in every aspect of my life.

Do you want to distance yourself from The X Factor now?

People forget about it now – they think I’m Tom Daley. They tend to say they’ve seen me on Dancing on Ice or some show. When I say I was in The X Factor 11 years ago when Leona Lewis won, they say ‘oh yeah’. Lots of things have changed since then but as long as I’m working I’m happy.

Do you want to return to pop music? Is it hard to find the confidence to go back into that world?

Going back into the music arena is definitely something I want to do. I’ve been writing an album for two years and I’ve completed it now. It’s on the shelf now because we haven’t got time to promote it. It’s something we’re working towards. I’m hoping next year is the one.

A few years ago you posted pictures of your gym-toned body on social media. Do you still work out a lot?

It’s not something I’m overly obsessed about right now because acting is quite a sociable lifestyle – going to meetings and wining and dining. At that point I got a bit addicted to it. I saw it as something to focus on when my life wasn’t going too well.

The Wedding Singer
Theatre Royal Brighton, August 29 to September 2, for more information and tickets call 08448 717650 or visit atgtickets.co.uk