Kids tread the boards in ‘Les Mis’.
Five young Wakatipu actors are defying the old theatre saying, “never work with kids or animals”.
Charlie Rose, 10, Mikaela McLean, 12, Leah Gourlay, 10, Angus Reid, 11, and Stephen Bartlett, 13, are the budding young child cast members of Showbiz Queenstown’s Les Miserables production.
The youngsters, who portray the musical’s three child characters, are slogging out the gruelling rehearsal schedule alongside 34 adult cast members – as well as fitting in homework, sports and playtime with sleep in between.
Charlie and Mikaela share the role of the fearful Young Cossette, Angus and Stephen share the role of worldly street urchin Young Gavroche, and Leah plays the smaller, non-speaking role of Young Eponine.
Role sharing is a must for the youngsters in this demanding show to ensure they don’t get too exhausted, Les Mis director Doug Kamo says.
But the juniors are taking it in their stride and “doing a wonderful job”.
“I’d have to say at this stage that they’d know their work inside out, back to front, more so than some of the other principal characters.”
Working with kids in such a big show requires extra consideration on Kamo’s part – especially juggling their rehearsal times.
“You’ve got a window of opportunity of about 45 minutes to an hour when they’re actually soaking up a lot of information, then their attention starts to wane a little.
“But in that period of time they’ve got, you can rest assured they’ll soak it up and they’ll do anything you ask them to,” Kamo says.
Take the family to Les Miserables
Mountain Scene has two family passes to give away to see the Matinee of Showbiz Queenstown’s Les Miserables.
Les Cast: Meet the kids
Charlie Rose, 10 – Young Cossette
On role sharing: “It’s good to see when Mikaela does it, she teaches me things.”
On long rehearsals: “I get tired but it’s fun just watching the other people practise.”
Stephen Bartlett, 13 – Young Gavroche
On being on stage: “It’s good, I’ve performed on stage before with my rock
band Da Crew.”
Why he wanted to get involved: “I wanted to try something new and learn some acting skills.”
Mikaela McLean, 12 – Young Cossette
Why she wanted a part: “It was my mum and dad’s first musical they ever went to and it was their favourite.”
On role sharing: “It’s cool because otherwise you get really tired every night and it’s nice to have a break.”
Angus Reid, 11 – Young Gavroche
On being Young Gavroche: “I’m kind of like him but not as full-out as him. He’s very full-out – he’s very cheeky.”
Best thing about being in the show: “I really like hanging out with the cast and crew. The adults are cool.”
Leah Gourlay, 10 – Young Eponine
Why she wanted to get involved: “Because my mum said I can do a bungy jump if I got in. Mum wants me to do a tandem but I want to do it by myself. I have to wait until I weigh 35kg though – I weigh 30kg now.”
On being on stage: “I won’t have stage fright – I’m lucky, I don’t have to sing or talk.”