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STUART MEY PAYS TRIBUTE TO WAYNE DELPORT (article first published : 2006-12-25)

It was around 4pm this afternoon (December 24) when I got the call from Andrew Jones, manager of the Dockyard Theatre as well as one of our regular performers as a singer and drummer. “Wayne Delport died a few hours ago”.

I could hardly believe it. Wayne was currently performing in the show Let’s Party at the newly opened Stars venue in Umhlanga as well as performing in Latino Magic at the Dockyard where he understudied Gino Veronie in all the matinee shows. I had last seen him on Thursday when he performed in a matinee at the Dockyard. I can remember the fantastic audience response he got as he came down into the audience to dance with one of the screaming ladies as he sang Enrique Iglesias’ Hero. The ladies in the audience just lapped him up. He had such a stage presence.

After the show on Thursday we spoke about his plans for 2007. I said that I had a couple of shows that I wanted him to do as he told me that he had shelved his plans to go back overseas.

The first time I saw Wayne perform was when he still at Glenwood High. He had a small part in a musical at Northlands Girls High. He performed in various shows in South Africa and worked for a couple years in Turkey, before retuning to SA if I’m not mistaken in 2005.

He showed me a video of his shows in Turkey and on the strength of his performances and vocal strength, I cast him as one of the lead vocalists in my Masters of Rock Vol. 2 which ran at the old Dockyard premises at the Point earlier this year.

Wayne was a knockout. He wowed audiences with his versions of Grand Funk’s American Band, Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love and Lynnard Skynnard’s Sweet Home Alabama. It was, however, during his high energy delivery of The Kinks’ You Really Got Me, that audiences first experienced his almost trademark forays into the crowd. He had the versatility to belt out Black Sabbath’s Paranoid a-la-Ozzie Osbourne, and the sensitivity to deliver a heartfelt Stairway to Heaven.

After Masters of Rock ended its run, Wayne stayed on at The Dockyard to do the lead role in the first of our Hall of Series, Buddy Holly. He was a little tied down by the fact that as Buddy Holly, he had to deliver almost all of his songs from behind a Fender Stratocaster as a Mic Stand, but we did let him set the Strat aside to let him loose on the crowd as he did a brilliant job of the classic Holly ballad True Love Ways.

We shall all miss Wayne; his irrepressible nature, his fantastic stage presence, his humour and self belief. My deepest sympathies go out to his mother and his immediate and extended family who were all so proud of him. I wish them the strength to cope with this terrible tragedy.

Here’s to you Wayne, a fantastic young talent, taken way before your time. – Stuart Mey, Dockyard Supper Theatre




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