“PLEASE, sir, I want some more”, 13-year-old actor Ben Burgess seems to be about to say as he poses for a picture in the role of Oliver at Canberra Grammar School.
Burgess actually goes to Lanyon High School, but the producer and founder of Ickle Pickle Productions, Justin Watson, is a Grammar old boy.
He thought the school’s refectory might be the nearest thing to Victorian England that he could find for a photo shoot in preparation for what he says will be Ickle Pickle’s biggest show to date, the musical “Oliver!” Michael Jordan, who gets to play the villainous Fagin in the popular show, was on hand to help whip up a bit of authenticity.
Directed by John Alsford, with Susan Davenport as musical director and Christina Philipp as choreographer, the musical coming up at Belconnen Theatre will feature more than 50 adults and children.
Red-haired and innocent-faced, Burgess has been one of the most unmistakable personalities in the Canberra Theatre scene for the past year. He started out playing the Velveteen Rabbit for Free Rain Theatre at the Courtyard’s Studio, later played a child in SUPA productions’ “Titanic”, a small pussycat in Free Rain’s “Cats” and one of the kids, Ben Burgess Dill, in “To Kill a Mockingbird”.
Now he has a chance at one of the major roles in musical theatre, but he’ll have to hurry. Burgess’ mother, professional photographer Steph Burgess, says “I don’t think he’s ever going to look his age”. Maybe not, but as she also points out there’s a real danger that his voice might break sometime very soon. “I think we’re just going to make it,” she adds.
“Oliver!” at Belconnen Theatre, January 11-25, bookings to 6275 2700 or canberraticketing.com.au