Petersfield School is asking: 'Please sir can we have some more?' as it puts on Oliver! at The New Theatre Royal

Oliver! by Petersfield School in rehearsal before showing at The New Theatre Royal
Oliver! by Petersfield School in rehearsal before showing at The New Theatre Royal

Festival to celebrate the Bard

When it comes to putting on a show, Petersfield School doesn't like to do things by half.

They've previously tackled Cats and Evita, but this time they're going to be showing Lionel Bart's classic musical based on the Charles Dickens story, Oliver!

Head of drama and dance, Lucy Reah is also the show's director. She says: 'We always look for something with a large cast, because we get nearly 10 per cent of our school involved.

'Last time it was Cats, before that it was Evita. With Cats it was lots of dancing and not so much narrative, so it was nice to do something this time involving some of our talented actors.

'It’s always a hard task to try and get the casting right, but now we’ve had nearly all of our rehearsals, it feels like everyone’s in the right part.

'There are a number of talented students here and sometimes people don’t always get the part they want, but it’s great that they still want to be involved in it, no matter what role they get.'

With less than a week to go until curtain-up, there are a few last minute jitters.

'It’s definitely that time when everyone starts to get worried whether it’s all going to come together, but it always seems to. The whole drama and dance and music departments are working closely together on this.'

Henry Chambers, 15, is playing the villainous Bill Sikes and has been relishing getting his teeth into the part of the rogue.

'I always set out wanting to be Bill Sikes and had him in mind to play. He’s a really interesting character in the way that his character is completely bad. All of the other characters have good and bad sides but he’s got no redeeming features at all.'

Fifteen-year-old Killian Hodges-Martell, is playing the part of Fagin, the leader of the pickpocket gang Oliver falls in with. He had already appeared in the show before, but in the very different role of Mr Bumble four years ago.

'I was really pleased I got the part of Fagin. I like the songs he sings, I think my voice fits them and I just like the character. I like how he’s sneaky and he’s quite two-faced.'

Martha Fletcher, 15, is Mrs Sowerberry, the funeral director's wife. 'She’s quite bossy, all of the scenes she’s telling her husband what to do and it’s been quite a fun role to play.

.'It’s really nice because the other production we did I was in Year 7, I was in the chorus for that, so it’s nice to be one of the older ones now.

'There’s 100 in the cast, but it doesn’t feel that big.'

Molly Blick, 15, is The Widow Corney. 'It’s been quite full-on because I’ve never done something this big before and also having normal schoolwork and exams, but I’ve found that going into rehearsals with all the people there they really help you out.

'The first time we’ll do it I think I’ll be nervous because we’ve not done it in front of this many people with the full production, but I think it will be a fun experience.'

New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth

January 24-6

newtheatreroyal.com