THE boy who played Oliver at Salisbury City Hall at the tender age of 11 is now starring in Mamma Mia in London’s West End.
Former Bishop’s boy Liam Marcellino is the understudy to one of the film’s famous fiancés and part of the ensemble in the highest grossing live action musical film of all time at the Novello Theatre until June 2015.
The 25-year-old says he is “very lucky” to be the understudy to Sky in the smash hit, whose box office figures are as eye opening as the outfits.
And despite putting in 14 or 15 hours, six days a week, he says it doesn’t feel like work at all.
“I love this life,” he said. “To be honest being on stage as part of the ensemble is like spending every night on a stag do on an idyllic Greek island.
“Although it is hard work, I never feel like I am working, it is just so wonderful to be in the production and I am very excited about taking over the role of Sky.”
Actor Lloyd Green is currently performing as Sky, but Marcellino will take over the role when he takes holiday in the next eight months.
As a child Marcellino was taught to dance at Salisbury Dance Studios in Wilton Road.
But it was when he took the lead role in the Dickens classic, Oliver, at Salisbury City Hall, that he realised where his heart lay.
“I realised I wanted to be an actor. It was more than enjoyment that I felt on the stage. It was love.
“And now I work such long hours but it never feels like a day of work. It was my dream from when I was 11 years old.”
Director Judy Craymer's bold idea of turning the catchy hits of ABBA into an all singing, all dancing love story paid off, as Mamma Mia is still sold out for every performance.
Mamma Mia opened in 1999 at the Prince Edward Theatre before transferring to the Prince of Wales Theatre in 2004. It is now at the Novello.
Marcellino said: “I have always been touring in the productions that I have been. But to be based in the West End is great.”
Since graduating from the London Studio Centre at 21, Marcellino has never been out of work.
To date he has performed in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (UK Tour), Grease (UK tour), Dirty Dancing (UK tour) and was in the ensemble and was understudy as Troy in High School Musical (Asian tour).
But Mammia Mia, which has been seen by more than 54 million people in 39 productions in 14 different languages and has grossed more than $2 billion at the box office, is his biggest show.
“I have been lucky,” said Marcellino.
“I think success can be all about timing, particularly with the long-runners. When any actor signs a contract there is always that chance that the show will close. But with Mamma Mia it just stays strong.
“I think it is partly because it is celebrating 15 years this year and it has been 40 years since ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest with Waterloo. Mamma Mia seems to have a renewed vigour.”