Tap­ping into old skills

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Weekly Life -

IT may sound awk­ward to ad­mit but Dirty Danc­ing star Kurt Phelan’s love of wine stemmed from un­em­ploy­ment.

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from NIDA, the Queens­land-born ac­tor started work­ing for a wine club to pay the bills his in­de­pen­dent theatre work could not.

“I’d al­ways ap­pre­ci­ated wine but never knew what I was do­ing un­til I did a six-week ed­u­ca­tion course for the job,” the 33-year-old said.

“From there I went on to WSET, the in­ter­na­tional som­me­lier in­ter­me­di­ate course.

“Since then I’ve changed com­pa­nies and when I’m not work­ing on a pro­duc­tion I or­gan­ise tast­ings and cases for wine club mem­bers.”

You can imag­ine Phelan’s de­light when in­vited by Sandalford Wines to visit its Swan Val­ley es­tate in Caversham last week for a pri­vate cel­lar tour and wine tast­ing with Sandalford wine­maker Mark Brown.

“I have a huge pas­sion for Aus­tralian wine es­pe­cially and try­ing to get peo­ple to taste va­ri­etals they wouldn’t usu­ally drink,” Phelan said.

“I sup­pose to­day has re­ally changed my mind as well, which is why it’s been re­ally great, see­ing the other side of what I do.

“I take over from when it’s in the bot­tle and now I’ve just seen what hap­pens be­fore it gets in to the bot­tle.”

Phelan said he dreamt of open­ing his own wine bar but was cur­rently fo­cused on his full-time job of be­ing Johnny Castle.

He said he had been flab­ber­gasted at Perth au­di­ences, whose re­spon­sive­ness had taken the clas­sic story on stage to another level.

“On the Satur­day af­ter open­ing I went to say ‘No­body puts Baby in the cor­ner’ and had to wait for ages be­cause they wouldn’t stop cheer­ing, they knew what was com­ing,” he said.

“I had to just say it through the cheers.”

De­spite sus­tain­ing in­juries dur­ing the show (he broke three ribs in De­cem­ber, then dis­lo­cated them in March and again in May), Phelan said he had the time of his life play­ing Johnny.

“I got cast in the role and it was such a big step for my ca­reer that any trep­i­da­tion took a back seat and my heart and pas­sion took over,” he said.

“I tried to ig­nore the fact that I’m a huge Pa­trick Swayze fan; I think it would have been worse if I was do­ing Point Break be­cause that’s one of my favourite movies. I just had to leave it all at the door.”

Dirty Danc­ing is at Crown Theatre Perth un­til Septem­ber 6.

Pic­ture: David Baylis d442300

Kurt Phelan re­laxes at

Sandalford Win­ery.

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