East Lothian schoolboy to star alongside David Essex in Christmas musical
AN East Lothian schoolboy has won the lead role in a musical starring David Essex and ex-EastEnder Martine McCutcheon.
Luke Davidson, 12, from Port Seton, will be treading the boards as Michael in hit Christmas production Elf, when it goes on tour in December.
He’s excited about his new role, and looking forward to rehearsals which start at the end of November in Manchester.
He said: “I’m very excited. I’d heard of David Essex but didn’t know who he was but had never heard of Martine McCutcheon.
“I’m a little bit nervous too, when my mum told me the size of the arena.”
The production will tour Cardiff, Birmingham and Nottingham to audiences of up to 6,000 throughout December and Luke will be opening the show on the first night. Due to his age, he will be sharing the lead role with one other actor and two understudies.
Luke got his first break at the age of eight when he was encouraged by an after-school-group tutor to audition for the Musical Youth theatre group.
He said: “Initially I didn’t really want to but I went along anyway. I never really thought it was what I wanted to do but I love it.”
Mum Julie is his second-biggest supporter, along with dad Steven and little sister Summer.
Julie’s father takes the top spot. She said: “His grandad is his number one fan. He’s very supportive and he’s the one Luke is inspired by and looks up to.
“He wants to make him proud.”
Luke’s musical talent emerged when he was a toddler.
Julie said: “I’m so proud of him. He’s been performing since he was three years old – he always reenacted scripts from television.
“He had a Dracula costume that he would put on and stay in character.”
Luke has been a member of the Pauline Quirke Academy for two years and is also a member of the Forth Children’s Theatre and appeared in two Fringe shows this year.
He travelled down to London with his mum to audition for the Elf part on his 12th birthday.
The competition was whittled down from more than 40 boys through a series of three auditions.
Julie said: “I’m not saying we didn’t believe in him, but we didn’t expect him to come home and have bagged the role.
“Even if it’s a one-off experience it will be fantastic.”
Watching him perform, says Julie, is an emotional experience.
She said: “It can bring a tear and a lump to your throat. You’re thinking, wow, how can he do that?”
Luke hopes for a career in musical theatre that matches his idol Jack Lemmon’s but his family are keeping him grounded.
Julie said: “It’s going to be an incredible time for him and hopefully the start of a great career.
“He’s had knockbacks and that’s a good thing – it builds resilience.
“This is what he wants to do but he understands that it’s up to him to put the hard work in and follow his dreams.”