Gareth’s show Gareth’s Dating Disasters is at The Pheasantry on Thursday (6 Jun). He’s very fussy about coffee, once played a mermaid at The RVT and wants to do a midnight marathon in Iceland.
Where are you from originally?
The steel city – Sheffield. Home to steel, music and male strippers… in The Full Monty!
And where do you live now?
I’ve been in Walthamstow for a year now. Rather bizarrely, my housemate is my personal trainer (Brandon Hepburn) – we got on so well and he needed a room when I needed a housemate. The only problem is, he can see everything I eat – so there’s no hiding.
What do you love about London and why?
The whole world is here.
How would you describe Gareth’s Dating Disasters?
It’s a combination of musical comedy, stand-up and bingo. Rather than 75 numbers, the bingo game involves 75 bad dates I have been on, which the audience cross out on their bingo cards. There are some great prizes, including knee pads, a half packet of lube, and an all day breakfast.
Is it all based on truth?
I try to be authentic, but some of the stories are rather silly versions of things which started as real – I am prone to exaggeration. The names are changed to protect people, and sometimes there are ‘composite characters’. The Masc4Masc song is not about one man, but several men – you will instantly recognise the type of person I am talking about, but it’s not about a real person. The show is really a commentary about how we behave towards each other, rather than about specific men I have dated.
What was the last theatre show you saw, where, and what did you think of it?
Sally Field in All My Sons at the Old Vic – she’s fantastic.
What is your guilty pleasure and why?
Cleaning on Sunday evenings until I reach a choregasm!
I am very fussy about coffee. All my coffee comes from the Algerian Coffee Store on Old Compton Street. They have the best beans in London. Sometimes my ‘gentleman callers’ will get a takeaway coffee when they leave in the morning.
Best gift you’ve ever received and why?
The gift of love and support from my parents and family. I am very fortunate.
What has been the highlight of your career so far and why?
I performed as the Middle Aged Mermaid at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, a wonderful venue. I thought it was a really bad set. Much to my surprise, someone came over to thank me, saying that they had a really shitty week, and that I really cheered them up. The world of the performer is quite fragile, and that kind of feedback is wonderful. It keeps me going.
If you could go back in time which year would you choose and why?
Purely for the dance music, the late 1990s. Let me be your fantasy (Baby D)!
What’s the best party you’ve ever been to and what made it so good
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Invest in your friends. Men come and go, but friends will be there for you over the decades. The real ones are fewer than you might think – you can count them on one hand. The ones who will actually help you move house, for example. Cherish them.
Who is your LGBT+ hero and why?
Julian Clary – he was daring and controversial at a very difficult time in British political history. There were so few openly gay performers in the 1980s and 1990s, unafraid to hide their camp side. He was an inspiration.
Who are the most entertaining people you follow on social media and why?
I still love Cher’s tweets, I’m not entirely sure she’s figured out how to use it yet. J.K. Rowling is fiercely intelligent on Twitter.
Where in the world would you like to visit before you die and why?
I want to do the Midnight Sun marathon in Iceland – it starts at midnight and the sun barely sets, it just bounces off the horizon. Maybe my running group (the London Frontrunners) will go there someday on their international trip.
What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?
Do what you enjoy, not what people expect of you. The author Anne Dickson once said, ‘It’s impossible to be creative with your life and to worry about what other people think of you – so the choice is which one to give up’. I have that on my wall, and my coffee cup.
Gareth’s Dating Disasters is on this Thursday (6 Jun) at The Pheasantry, 52 Kings Road, SW3. Tickets on sale at garethedward.com