I was a teenager during the Girl Power years, and I remember spending many hours with my friends dancing around in our bedrooms and singing into our hairbrushes to the music of The Spice Girls. We weren’t the only ones. The Spice Girls were an important part of the music scene in the 90’s, and even though they no longer perform together as a band, their influence is still a strong presence in 2013.
Jukebox musical Viva Forever! was inspired by The Spice Girls and features some of their biggest hit songs, such as ‘Say You’ll Be There’, ‘2 Become 1’, ‘Wannabe’ and of course ‘Viva Forever’. Since it opened at the Piccadilly Theatre last year, Viva Forever! has attracted untold numbers of Spice Girl fans who have come to enjoy their favourite Spice Girl songs, with the added bonus of hearing them performed as never before by the top-class company of the show. Led by Hannah John-Kamen, the talented Viva Forever! cast are sure to ‘spice up your life’ with their onstage skills of vocal, acting and dance performance, right from the top ranks of the principal cast to the members of the ensemble team. Sophie Carmen-Jones and Darren Carnall are two Viva Forever! ensemble members who have been featured in past editions of In Profile, and this week, another joins the club as In Profile turns the spotlight on to Oliver Roll.
Oliver Roll is a former student of Sir Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) who graduated from there with first class honours. He has performed in a wide variety of stage productions since then, including several top West End musicals. He was an original cast member in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical revivals of Oliver! (Theatre Royal Drury Lane) and The Wizard of Oz (London Palladium); as a swing in the latter and playing Eccentric Dancer/Hussar in the Oliver! ensemble, where he also understudied the role of Noah Claypole. He features on the original cast recordings of both shows. His other West End credits also include playing one half of the ‘What A Piece of Work Is Man’ Tribe Duo in the 2010 revival of Hair at the Gielgud Theatre, in which he was also the understudy for the role of Woof, as well as an ensemble member and swing in another jukebox musical – Queen’s We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre. In addition to this, he was involved in the charity concert performance of Rent at the Garrick Theatre.
As much as they may be something to be proud of, Roll’s theatre credits extend beyond a few West End musicals however. He has travelled around in a number of touring productions, one such being a musical version of The Wedding Singer in which he appeared in the ensemble as part of the original UK tour cast and also understudied the role of George. He was also a swing on the UK tour of Chicago and covered the principal roles of Billy Flynn, Amos Hart and Mary Sunshine, as well as gaining further experience with the Kander, Ebb and Fosse musical as part of the European touring productions, playing Aaron/The Jury along with also covering leading characters Billy Flynn and Mary Sunshine once again. He was also on the UK tour of Wonderful Town.
Roll has been fortunate in the number of original show casts he has appeared in. Along with those already evidenced, he was also dance captain and ensemble member in Imagine This at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth and played Chuck Bean in Bright Lights, Big City at Hoxton Hall. His other regional credits include playing Rayner Stokes in Chasing Fate at the Birmingham Hippodrome and performing in the RSC production of The Wizard of Oz as Crow/ensemble and understudy Uncle Henry at Southampton Mayflower. He also played Charles Wykeham in Charley’s Aunt (MV Oriana) and many further roles as part of the Oriana Theatre Company for the Cruising Musicals Consortium. In addition, he has the prerequisite panto experience as ensemble member and understudy Captain Hook in Peter Pan (The Swan, High Wycombe) and Curly and understudy John Darling in another Peter Pan production at Sunderland Empire.
Roll is now appearing in the Spice Girls musical Viva Forever! at the Piccadilly Theatre as an ensemble member, performing with the likes of Sally Ann Triplett, Bill Ward and Tamara Wall. He may have a sizable number of ensemble-based credits to his name by now, but with experience comes knowledge and Oliver Roll has become a confident and talented stage performer who I would like to see in a full-time principal role in the near future.
By Julie Robinson @missjulie25
You can follow Oliver on twitter: @oliroll11
Saturday 27th April 2013