Derbyshire Life - - People -

I al­ways re­ally wanted. I knew I could sing and when I was 16 my mum took me to a record­ing stu­dio and ev­ery­one said I had a very ma­ture voice. I sent this demo tape out and the mu­sic ca­reer just hap­pened – but mu­si­cal theatre was my first love. I was very lucky that Blue came along as it gave me an op­por­tu­nity to go in as a lead char­ac­ter.

‘Blue has opened so many doors for us. We started Blue in 2000 and none of us has stopped work­ing since. It has given me so many op­por­tu­ni­ties. I have hosted the Na­tional Lot­tery, game shows, done two years in Hollyoaks and have toured the world in mu­si­cal theatre – I’m very lucky.’

Mor­gan is also promis­ing more sur­prises this Christ­mas. ‘We flew Gwen Tay­lor out over the au­di­ence last year, so we have to think what’s our “wow” mo­ment this year. I don’t want to say too much but there will be a beanstalk – I don’t think that’s a spoiler alert – but it’s how well we do that. I hope it’s a bit more of a sur­prise and there’s some­thing dif­fer­ent about the giant...’ Derby couldn’t have a bet­ter vil­lain for au­di­ences to di­rect their boos at than Lawrence Bootham. As the Sher­iff of Not­ting­ham in Lough­bor­ough Town Hall’s Robin Hood he was named Best Male Bad­die at the Great Bri­tish Panto Awards 2018.

Now he’s turn­ing his vil­lain­ous at­ten­tions to Derby Arena as Cesspit in Jack and the Beanstalk.

He says: ‘I have al­ways been a fan of panto. I re­mem­ber be­ing very young and see­ing Aladdin back home in Scot­land and think­ing it was just won­der­ful. It was so colour­ful and funny and I al­ways loved the bad­die as well.

‘I don’t come from a the­atri­cal back­ground and didn’t know any ac­tors, so it wasn’t a dream for me back then but when I be­came a teenager I started to re­alise that peo­ple got paid for that and maybe I could do it. As a child it was just pure es­capism.

‘Last year was the first panto I’ve ever done and it’s very ad­dic­tive. Mor­gan once played an Ugly Sis­ter in Cin­derella and found it dif­fi­cult as he was be­ing booed and not cheered. But I love it and the more peo­ple boo, the more I like it. I think if they didn’t re­act at all, that’s when I would be wor­ried.’

So, what does Lawrence see as the se­cret of play­ing a good bad­die? ‘The di­rec­tor last year said pace was es­sen­tial and I think that’s im­por­tant. You have to keep the en­ergy up. You don’t want the show to drag. As a vil­lain I aim to come on as a whirl­wind and bring a lot of en­ergy to it. Panto is also very visual, so the cos­tume and make-up also give me ideas of how Cesspit will be­have. But he will be Scot­tish... I feel that.’

Jack and the Beanstalk will be staged at Derby Arena from 8th De­cem­ber to

5th Jan­uary 2019. To book call 01332 255800, go on­line at der­ or in per­son at the As­sem­bly Rooms, Mar­ket Place, Derby.

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