A FLEDGLING actor from Blackbird Leys has been tipped for the West End after starring in a near sell-out performance.

Harry Pudwell, 19, wowed the audience in his role as notorious director Julian Marsh in the Musical Youth Company of Oxford (MYCO's) production of backstage comedy 42nd Street.

MYCO director Guy Brigg said Mr Pudwell had been part of a "hugely strong" cast and stood an "extremely good" chance of going on to make it in the West End.

He added: "I've seen Harry develop as a performer over the last three to four years. He has traditionally been cast in comedy roles, so to have more truth was transformative.

The teen from Kestrel Crescent first trod the boards at Oxford Playhouse aged 10, playing a rat in the chorus, but took centre stage to sing on his birthday in December.

He said: "Years ago I wanted to be a footballer, then a fireman. I was about six when I first started acting. My singing has come a long way from where it began."

Over the years Mr Pudwell trained with Stagecoach and appeared in productions from Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella to Fame and Guys And Dolls.

Last year he directed his own play with youth theatre company RicNic Oxford and appeared as villain M1 in Stagecoach's galactic comedy Looking for Elvis.

42nd Street, which was performed at Oxford Playhouse last weekend (2/4), charts starry-eyed dancer Peggy Sawyer's rise to stardom in 1930s Broadway.

Mr Pudwell said: "I absolutely love 42nd Street. It's really fun and has some amazing numbers, with a stroppy diva and myself playing the harsh director.

"Our director has brought it completely forward into the 21st century with phones, emails and iPads.

When his studies at Abingdon and Witney College come to an end this year, the young thespian is planning to apply to drama schools, but admitted feeling "torn".

He said: "Musical theatre is where I have trained from an early age but I love the deeper characters, for instance Shakespeare's Richard III."

Mr Brigg added: "For me the post important part of any show is what the ensemble do. I tried to build in more ensemble work than there is traditionally. MYCO's great strength is what they do when they are all together on the stage."