Me, Myself and I: Kevin Wilson

Kevin Wilson works as a theatre PR and has worked with the likes of Joan Rivers and Joan Collins. He flies Upper Class to New York twice a year and would love to visit Norway to see the Northern Lights.

Where are you from originally?

Dalston, a tiny picturesque village on the edge of the Lake District.

And where do you live now?

Balham, South London. I have lived in all four corners of London – Ealing, Clapton, Notting Hill, Clapham Old Town, Greenland Dock, and Earlham Street in the heart of the West End over the past 37 years, but seven years ago I struck gold. I share my house with my two Russian Blue cats, Mink and Mabel, they are sisters. My partner, Adam, lives in Leeds and so we have taken turns to commute every weekend for 12 years – me with the cats in a large wicker basket on East Coast trains.

What do you love about London and why?

Its energy, style and pizzazz. It is the most vibrant, exciting, culturally rich city on the planet. I walk up to 12 miles a day and never tire of the city’s changing views and skyline – more people should get up an hour earlier, take their faces out of their phones, look above the ground floor shops at the city’s amazing architecture and walk this great city every day.

What was the first LGBT venue you visited?

The Spread Eagle Pub in Battersea in 1980 – there was a twisted gay version of Cinderella being played out in a corner of the room on a tiny stage the size of a kitchen tabletop, with Lily Savage and David Dale as the Ugly Sisters.

What is your favourite venue?

The Hospital Club, where I’m a member.

Can you describe in basic terms what your job involves? 

I am a theatre publicist, heading my own agency, Kevin Wilson Public Relations, for 20 years. I represent musicals, plays and celebrities in the West End, on the fringe and touring the UK. My longest-running West End client is Thriller Live (now in its 10th year at the Lyric Theatre) and my famous clients have included Joan Rivers, Debbie Reynolds, Joan Collins, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta, Leslie Jordan, Glen Campbell, Eartha Kitt and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

What are you working on at the moment?

Alexis Gregory’s thrillingly powerful, new verbatim theatre piece Riot Act, created for the King’s Head Theatre Queer Season, which opens on 31 July. I also have nine shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August: the gay-related or themed Dietrich: Natural Duty; Iconic – A Brief History of Drag; and Really Want To Hurt Me; six of the most famous Blue Peter presenters together in Once Seen on Blue Peter; ex-Emmerdale star Richard Shelton in Sinatra: Raw; the UK premiere of Bark! The Musical; dance spectacular Burn the Floor; Trainspotting Live; and Six, a stunning new musical about the six wives of Henry VIII as a fierce girl band that is transferring straight to the West End on 30 August. I also have The Greatest Love of All – The Whitney Houston Show on tour, the return of Eugenius The Musical at The Other Palace and The Simon and Garfunkel Story coming to the West End.

What was the last theatre show you saw, where, and what did you think of it?

I am extremely lucky to see more than 250 shows a year. I first saw the Tony award-winning musical Fun Home in New York and then Boston on tour in the US, but the new production at the Young Vic Theatre, starring Jenna Russell, is stunning. It’s about a lesbian cartoonist and her closeted gay father. The Young Vic is on a gay roll at the moment… The Inheritance, which runs more than seven hours over two parts, and about to transfer to the West End, was the best new play I’ve seen in years. It took my breath away.

What is your guilty pleasure and why?

Salted caramel custard tart at the end of a lazy Sunday lunch at Adam Byatt’s Trinity in Clapham.

Biggest extravagance?

Flying Virgin Upper Class to New York twice a year to see the latest Broadway shows.

What has been the highlight of your career so far and why?

My 18-month rollercoaster working with Joan Rivers as her London PR. When she died, E network in the US sent a TV crew to film an interview with me while sat on the train to Leeds about our fabulous adventures, including her getting thrown off Loose Women when she dropped the F-bomb live on lunchtime TV.

Best gift you’ve ever received?

Afternoon tea and a private tour of the apartments of Kensington Palace with, and arranged by, Joan Rivers, through her friendship with Prince Charles.

If you could go back in time which year would you choose and why? 

The mid 90s when I was at The Fridge, Trade and FF every weekend. Wild, hedonistic, carefree days when the music was uplifting; we danced all weekend and I made friends for life that I still treasure today.

What’s the best party you’ve ever been to and what made it so good?

The opening night aftershow party for Thriller Live that I helped organise at the Cafe de Paris. Wall to wall A-list celebs, Tito Jackson and other members of the Jackson family, and then LaToya Jackson was evicted from Celebrity Big Brother and arrived at 1am in a blizzard of flashbulbs.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Be nice to people on your way up because you’ll meet them again on the way down.

Who is your LGBT+ hero and why?

Outspoken broadcaster and journalist Pattie Coldwell, who famously put a condom on a banana and was first person to mention fisting on national TV. Her 1988 BBC One documentary Remembering Terry, about early AIDS victim Terry Madeley,  following his final days and ultimate death, broke broadcasting taboos and won an award from the Terrence Higgins Trust.

Who are the most entertaining people you follow on social media and why? 

On Twitter, Arthur Smith, the unofficial Mayor of Balham (@ArfurSmith), always cracks me up, and Who’s Lionel With Today? (@WhoLionel) is a Twitter account run by a Glaswegian friend who finds – goodness knows where – the most hilarious  pictures of Lionel with showbiz chums though the years – all very theatrical!

Where in the world would you like to visit before you die and why? 

Mount Nappstinden, Lofoten, Nordland, Norway, to see the stunning Aurora Borealis.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

Don’t give time to people who make you feel bad about yourself.

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