LAWRENCE BOOTHMAN – CESSPIT
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 derbylive.co.uk or in person at the Assembly Rooms, Market Place, Derby.