By Mick Jensen
Ashburton Intermediate School pupil Ollie Bubb has landed another part in a professional stage production and will play Benji in the colourful show Priscilla, Queen of the Desert at Christchurch’s Issac Royal Theatre.
The Showbiz Christchurch spectacle runs from March 24 until April 8 and the cast also includes Mid Canterbury-raised Jane Leonard and former Big Little Theatre Company (BLTC) actor Greta Casey-Solly.
In 2015 Ollie Bubb played the shared role of Michael Banks in the Court Theatre production of Mary Poppins and acted in 37 shows.
His role of Benji in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert will see him sing and act towards the end of the show with his stage father Tick, who performs as drag artist Mitzi.
Ollie was asked to audition for the role by show director Stephen Robertson, who also directed him in Mary Poppins, because he believed the 11-year-old would be an ideal fit.
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert tells the story of two Sydney drag artists and a transsexual, who hop aboard a battered old bus (named Priscilla), searching for love, friendship and family in the outback.
Ollie Bubb said he played a typical Australian boy, who one day met up with his estranged father, who happened to be a performing drag artist.
The role was in stark contrast to the part he played in the classic English story of Mary Poppins, he said.
Showbiz Christchurch communications manager Wendy Riley said casting child roles could be tricky at the best of times because of the commitment it needed from the actor and their family.
For a show like Priscilla, which contained adult themes and language, it was particularly important to cast with those considerations in mind.
Ollie and his parents understood the content of the show and they all loved musical theatre, which helped enormously in picking him for the role.
He had also worked with some of the cast members before.