Everybody’s Talking About Mary!
“My favourite memory from tour was squeezing myself into a dog cage in a furry dressing gown…very professional at all times as you can tell!”
Its been nearly a year since we was hoping to have drag legend Mary Mac visit us at Glitterbomb Canterbury while on her tour of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. Unfortunately the pandemic had other plans, so this week we decided to catch up with the icon herself!
For anyone who may not know you, can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m Mary Mac, a ginger loud Scottish goddess who has been lucky enough to be performing all over the place for the last ten years or so, the first four were ropey so we don’t talk about them but since then it’s got camper and more fabulous. In my mind anyway!
How did it feel to be performing in the UK Tour of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie to then suddenly being in lockdown?
It was a real blow to have just started the UK Tour of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, it was my first real step into a big musical and I have such a passion for the story that I was really looking forward to being the first people to take it out on the road and share this brilliant show with all sorts of audiences. We really thought it was going to be a 12 week break and a year later we are hopefully now closer to getting back out with the show.
We assume it must’ve been stressful when you found out you would be halting performances… did you manage to make it back home to Lanzarote without any issues?!
I made it home to Lanzarote thanks to the kindness of friends from the show who brought me to London from Birmingham the night we closed and I managed to get a flight the next morning, the airport was so quiet it was scary, no one really knew what was happening. There were only 19 people on the flight and BA still charged me excess luggage. The cheek but I did have pretty much my entire drag wardrobe and boy clothes with me on tour and it didn’t matter how much it cost I was just grateful to be on the way home.
What funny stories can you tell us about tour life in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie?
There are tons of brilliant stories, even though we only started the tour I really bonded with so many of the cast and we used to cause a lot of mayhem backstage especially during the second act when me and the two other queens have a lot of time offstage. Probably my favourite memory of tour was squeezing myself into a dog cage in a furry dressing gown and waiting for Lara to come back to the dressing room to see how long it’d take for her to realise I was in there. Very professional at all times as you can tell.
What can you tell us about tour life that a lot of people may not know?
Tour life is busy, lots of fun but very busy. On days off I would try and squeeze a Mary Mac show in so I could keep my name alive on the cabaret scene and then head off to whatever city we were in next and it takes a lot of pre planning with accommodation and trains, planes etc. The amount of people backstage who work non stop taking the show around the country is insane and most people will never see them but without that incredible team the show would be impossible. I’ve always loved theatre but it really rekindled my passion and respect for every element of a show.
We were hoping to see you at Glitterbomb when the Jamie tour came to Canterbury – what can an audience expect from a typical Mary Mac set?
I REALLY cannot wait to be at Glitterbomb hopefully when the show comes back to Canterbury we can make it happen and I can bring all the company along who love a good night out. A typical Mary Mac set is hard to describe because I never really know what I’m going to do until I see the crowd, feel the atmosphere and see how we all want to party that particular night but OF COURSE you’ll get the 14 minute and 19 second Mary Mac Medley. If I can still do it after the pandemic rest!
You have a bar in Lanzarote, how has it been going during the pandemic?
I am very lucky to have a bar in Lanzarote yes, Bar Soho Playa Blanca which really is my partner Brett’s baby and he has been incredible during all this time keeping it going and adapting it constantly to keep in line with Canarian Government guidelines. I love that I have an audience to perform to and a chance to give our locals somewhere to escape to for a bit of entertainment and fun. When the world is more normal again we hope more people will visit Lanzarote as it really is a beautiful island with lots to offer.
Have you managed to stay in touch with your UK Fans?
Thanks to the wonders of Facebook Live and Zoom etc I have managed to still perform for the gorgeous people in the UK and infact across the world which is amazing to me that even during the pandemic I’ve gained new followers and people have been brilliant in sharing the streams and videos to family and friends. Even when people can’t go out to theatres or pubs etc for shows they almost feel like they are watching together, commenting etc on the Facebook Live Streams.
How do you find doing live streams differ from a live audience?
I really didn’t think I’d enjoy the live stream thing at all but after the first week of doing them from our bedroom at home transformed into a Tiki Bar, the response was crazy and actually I instantly get a buzz from the shows. A very different kind of buzz from actual live performance but still exciting then thankfully we were able to move the show into the bar and we’ve tried to keep upping the game tech wise and trying to make it as full a show as possible.
What’s the worst experience you have had on stage?
Worst experience I’ve had on stage was right at the beginning of my drag journey at a bar in Newcastle, I was very theatrical in my content back then and the crowd just wanted sing along, fun songs nothing which had to be concentrated on. I tried to win them around but nothing worked and even though it felt terrible at the time, literally no one was interested it was a real learning experience and I got a massive kebab and chips after the show for only £3.50, so I’m looking forward to returing to Newcastle for that at least.
Lastly, what has been a highlight in your career so far?
I have many many amazing things that I’ll remember forever and I’m very lucky to still be asked to perform at incredible events. All the Pride events are always so special, the emotions you feel from the crowds, the shared experiences backstage and at other events during the celebrations. My own one woman show with a 27 piece orchestra at The Milton Court Theatre is of course a massive highlight and something I hope to visit again. There’s lots I still want to do but I’m super grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had and still get offered so I’m looking forward to many more years of being Mary Mac.