Matt is the man behind the cabaret tour de force that is Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho. He loves Barbra Streisand, would love to explore the Seven Wonders of the World and once met Victoria Wood.
Where are you from originally?
I grew up in a town called Widnes, just outside of Liverpool. The song Homeward Bound by Simon & Garfunkel, was written in Widnes Station. It’s a song about escaping the industrial North and fleeing to London. It really resonated with me. There’s a huge power station and the air smells like rotting flesh and burnt oil from the various factories we have. We also birthed Sporty Spice. So, swings and roundabouts.
And where do you live now?
I live in Woolwich with my boyfriend Brett and a dog called Ebony. We’re hoping that Crossrail arrives sometime in the next decade, but I don’t have much faith. Ebony doesn’t care as long as she is kept in tennis balls and squeaky toys.
What do you love about London and why?
I love the variety. If you want to you can go out and do something different every single night. And 24 hour shops. If you’re a smoker and run out of fags at 10pm on a Wednesday night in Cirencester it’s a nightmare.
What was the first gay venue you visited?
My first gay bar was a place called The Loft in Norwich where I went to Uni. I went once and was barred. Don’t ask.
How would you describe Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho ?
It’s a big camp drag comedy cabaret musical extravaganza telling the story of how Margaret Thatcher reversed all her opinions about gay people, revoked Section 28 and became a global cabaret superstar and gay icon instead. It’s not quite true to life but it does feature all the hits of the 80s as sung by Mrs T.
What can we expect in the show at Wiltons?
It’s a vintage wooden stage and I’m wearing heels, so I’m just focussing on not falling over.
What was the last theatre show you saw, where, and what did you think of it?
I saw Medea by the Internationaal Theater Amsterdam at the Barbican. They’re a phenomenal theatre company. If seven hours of Shakespeare in Dutch sounds like your idea of hell then you need to see them. Trust me. They’ll make you want to learn Dutch just to be part of the company.
What is your guilty pleasure and why?
Barbra Streisand. Actually, I don’t feel guilty about it. I’ve got ‘nothing to be guilty of’. But anyone under the age of 40 seems to think it’s something you should feel bad about. It is an obsession. I have all of her albums, I’ve seen all of her films, and know more about her than she does about herself. I’m going to see her again in July for the third time. There will be tears.
I’m not very extravagant so probably just diamonds and fur coats.
Best gift you’ve ever received and why?
My mum always buys me far too much for Christmas and birthdays. It’s obscene. She still thinks I’m 11. One year she gave me a cat called Louis who was the most insane and comical pet I’ve ever had. Sadly he died a few years ago but we still miss him.
What has been the highlight of your career so far and why?
I’ve had so many. We’ve sold out so many venues and been incredibly lucky. Maggie has been invited to so many amazing places that you stop and think ‘How did I get here?’. Reading the weather on Australian TV, dinner at the Foreign and Commonwealth office, being kissed by Ian McKellen. But I think meeting Victoria Wood, who is a comedy hero of mine, and being papped for the papers was a dream come true.
If you could go back in time which year would you choose and why?
I’d go and visit all of the Seven Wonders of the World and see if there really was a Hanging Gardens, or I’d quite like a night out at Studio 54. Dancing, drugs, Donna Summer. What more could you want?
What’s the best party you’ve ever been to and what made it so good?
Maggie went to the Winq awards at the Mandarin Oriental a couple of years ago. I was lucky enough to present Peter Tatchell with an award. Had a chat with Richard E Grant. Had a dance with Darcy Bussell. Was taken home in a taxi by two Royal Marines in dress uniform. Pretty standard for Maggie, not so much for Matt.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
‘No audience is the same, and don’t play last night’s audience’
Who is your LGBT+ hero and why?
There are so many people out there championing LGBT+ rights, at the moment. I greatly admire all those volunteers involved in the setting up of the London LGBT+ Community Centre in East London. It’s mad that for such a progressive city we have yet to have a safe space for our community to meet and provide help for those who need it.
Who are the most entertaining people you follow on social media and why?
I try and stay away from social media as it rots the brain. But I can often be found in a YouTube hole at 2am watching documentaries on the digestive system of George III or the top 10 celebrity TV meltdowns.
Where in the world would you like to visit before you die and why?
There are so many places I’d love to visit. Japan, Mexico, Antarctica. I’d also love to perform Maggie in Argentina. If we can get Glaswegians to cheer for her, anything is possible. The new Evita?
What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?
It’s meant to look like that.