At the end of the day it's the perfect role for Robert Kelly
Fresh from his role as the despicable Bill Sykes in the three day run of '˜Oliver' at the Millennium Forum last weekend, Derry teenager Robert Kelly is looking forward to playing a much more likable character next.
The 16 year-old is one of 65 young people who have secured a role in the Belfast School of Performing Arts’ production of ‘Les Miserables’.
Playing Marius is a role that should come naturally to Robert, as he’s already played him before, when he was just 14.
“We were just talking about my being in ‘Les Mis’ and I think people forget I am only 16.” he said.
Marius is a far cry from Bill Sykes, one of Dickens’ most well known villains. But for Robert, playing Sykes with the Millennium Forum Youth Productions was a real challenge.
“I didn’t come on until the second act,” he said. “But my entrance with the song ‘My Name’ is just brilliant.
“It’s not the first time I’ve played a dark character as I was Hyde in ‘Jekyll and Hyde’.”
And the St Columb’s College pupil revealed that his killing in ‘Oliver’ wasn’t even the first time he’d “murdered” someone on stage, as Hyde was renowned for six murders.
But he says playing Marius in Belfast at the end of the month will be amazing.
“I love the role, even though I don’t get to be on stage for the first 40 minutes, but after that Marius is pretty much on stage for the rest of the show.
“There are so many good songs including ‘One Day More’ and ‘Empty Chairs at Empty Tables.”
Robert from Belmont admitted that he’s pretty much given up his entire summer holidays to dedicate himself to musical theatre.
The whole of July was spent rehearsing for ‘Oliver’, and the entire month of August will be dedicated to rehearsals for ‘Les Mis’, culminating in the show which will run at the Grand Opera House from August 19 to 27.
“I know this is the path I want to go down career wise,” says Robert. “The plan after my A-Levels is to go to London to study acting.
“My friends have been really supportive and are all coming to see me. The only thing is that sometimes my rehearsals clash with football practice.
“If I had a dream role it would definitely be the ‘Phantom of the Opera’.”
Director James Huish said: “We have an exceptional and extremely talented cast who I know will produce an amazing show.”