Cabaret renegade Dusty Limits is originally from Brisbane, loves his Playstation, would love to see dinosaurs and is performing his show Mandrogyny as part of Unwrapped, a festive season of comedy, cabaret and drag at the Bush Theatre.
Where are you from originally?
And where do you live now?
Brixton, South London. All on my lonesome.
What do you love about London and why?
The way it feels haunted, especially walking through the City late at night when it’s almost deserted. It’s as though you’re brushing up against centuries worth of ghosts every time you walk down a winding alleyway or into an historic building.
What was the first gay venue you visited?
The Beat, in Brisbane. I used to go there with my friend Chantel and we’d dance until the small hours, topping up our water bottles from the taps in the bathroom. It’s also where I came second in a karaoke competition and won the money to pay for my one-way ticket to London.
How would you describe your show Mandrogyny?
It’s a cabaret concert of original songs written with the brilliant and prolific Michael Roulston, strung together with stories – true or false – about my life and how one finds one’s identity.
What was the last theatre show you saw, where, and what did you think of it?
‘Company’ at the Gielgud, with Rosalie Craig and Patti Lupone. It was excellent, a brilliant twist on a classic musical. I was twenty feet away from Patti when she sang ‘Ladies Who Lunch’. That was a life goal achieved.
What is your guilty pleasure and why?
My Playstation. People are often surprised that I’m a gamer. But honestly, if I hadn’t become a performer, I’d have gone into the gaming industry.
My career choice. Total, irrational, self-indulgence. I’m sure I’d be a great disappointment to my high-school careers advisor, who told me to become a barrister.
Best gift you’ve ever received and why?
A portrait of me by the incredible artist John Lee Bird, which my friend Shonali bought for me a few years back. It’s huge and sits in my bedroom. It now faces the wall because it’s actually unnerving to have your own huge face staring at you all the time. It did provoke a lover of mine to ask ‘so, who is the woman in the painting?’ I thought that was marvellous.
What has been the highlight of your career so far and why?
Doing my show ‘Post-Mortem’ at the Soho Theatre Downstairs. I had a three-piece band and it’s a gorgeous space and I was very proud of the show.
If you could go back in time which year would you choose and why?
The Cretaceous Period, to see dinosaurs. I can understand why some people say ‘The Roaring 20s’ or ‘The Elizabethan Age’ but dinosaurs!
What’s the best party you’ve ever been to and what made it so good?
My mock-wedding in 2008 at the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club. I was a beautiful bride, the best-and-brightest of the cabaret world lent their talents to the event, and Keira Knightley and a young Ben Cumberbatch were there. Amazing night.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
My Dad said once ‘when I die, they don’t bury you’. I love that.
Who is your LGBT+ hero and why?
Quentin Crisp. ‘The Naked Civil Servant’ was life-changing. I admire his wit, his Wildean way with words, and his unflinching honesty.
Who are the most entertaining people you follow on social media and why?
Femi_Sorry, the anti-Brexit campaigner. He has a gift for analysis and explanation. He’s also hilarious.
Where in the world would you like to visit before you die and why?
Egypt, to see the Pyramids and the Sphinx and all that jazz. I was obsessed as a child.
What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?
That love is a possibility.