Bonnie Langford’s back

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DESPITE her pint-sized stature, Bonnie Langford is every inch the star with a career in theatre, television, film and radio on both sides of the pond. Now, she’s back doing what she loves best – treading the boards. Katy Wheeler spoke to her about Spamalot which comes to Sunderland next week.

WHILE the men of Spamalot are busy banging their coconuts together and searching for shrubberies, the Lady of the Lake brings a more calm, ethereal quality to the silliest of musicals.

Bonnie Langford has stepped into her watery shoes for the current run which arrives at the Sunderland Empire on Monday.

Bonnie explained how the role came about: “I had been away in America for a couple of years and was asked to meet up with the casting director.

“I was surprised to be approached about the role. I hadn’t seen the musical, but I’d seen clips and had always thought the Lady of the Lake was tall and statuesque, whereas I’m diminutive,

“But I’m loving being in the show. It’s great fun with a fabulous company and the show is full of energy. It’s a great excuse to laugh and we all need that nowadays.”

Claiming to be lovingly ripped-off from the classic film comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Spamalot the musical is a clever piece of theatre which weaves classic British humour with witty dialogue and toe-tapping tunes.

Joining Bonnie on stage is former Eastenders and Bill star Todd Carty, as hapless Patsy and West End star Stephen Pacey as King Arthur.

In between telling the legendary tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, witch burnings and killer rabbits, the cast work their way through a score including He Is Not Dead Yet, Knights of the Round Table, Find Your Grail and Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.

Bonnie says you don’t have to be a fan of the 70s TV show and films which spawned the musical, to enjoy the stage show.

“I was aware of Monty Python, but I wouldn’t say I was a fan,” she explained.

“I didn’t dislike it, it just wasn’t a massive part of my life. But I don’t think you necessarily have to be a Python fan or your usual theatre-goer to enjoy the show.

“Musically it’s good. But it’s also independently good. It’s quite swift, nothing is indulged, it’s very charming in that sense.

“I still laugh when I’m waiting in the wings. I love listening to the audience laugh too, it’s contagious.”

Bonnie’s career is one that’s spanned the decades since she made her debut in the West End at the tender age of seven in a musical adaptation of Gone with the Wind at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

She says she still hasn’t lost her enthusiasm for performing.

She explained: “Both Todd (her Spamalot co-star) and I started our careers very young, but ultimately we still to this day enjoy what we do. The good days outweigh the bad days.

“I just love live theatre, when it’s going well you have a great experience along with the audience. It’s one of those Mastercard moments, you can’t put a price on it, it’s priceless.”

l Spamalot is at Sunderland Empire from April 16-21. Tickets are £12.50-£34.50. Tel. 0844 871 3022 or visit www.ATGTickets.com/Sunderland