Last Friday night Ramsay Street came to Belconnen Mall in the guise of the Dolly search for the next big Neighbours stars.
Thirty of Canberra’s finest child actors were auditioned during the day with 12 chosen to go through to a live final on the Belconnen Mall stage. The show is looking for a girl aged 13-16 to play Louise Carpenter, who is apparently Lou’s daughter returning to the show after many years, and a boy aged 16-18 to play Ringo, the self-professed-ladies-man teenage brother of a new character who viewers are yet to meet.
First up MC Ryan (Toadie) Moloney somewhat sheepishly held a quiz for the audience. Luckily it was mostly teenage girls since the prizes were Dolly packs.
He then introduced the two judges for the evening: Jan Russ, the Neighbours casting director, and Bronwyn McKeon, Dolly editor and as far as I could tell there to look good. Then the not-overly-excited audience met Natalie Blair, who plays occasional character Carmella Complicateditaliansurnama.
She was there to pretend to be Elle and read with the female auditionees. First up was a girl called Hannah Tonks (who a workmate had studied drama with at college). When asked if she had done much acting before, Hannah replied no, not really, just some NIDA courses. She was the only one of the ten girls there I saw audition, so I can’t really judge it but I will tell you she didn’t win (it was in the CT the next day). After each read through, Ms Russ gave the auditionees some tips and then they read the scene again.
The first of the two boys who made it through to the final 12 was Matthew Casson. I don’t think I like this Ringo character very much, but that didn’t have anything to do with young Matthew. If anything, his acting was good enough to make the character sufficiently unlikable.
And then I had to go back to work.