Michael Twaits (usually in a dress)
How Long you have been
involved with Finger in the Pie
It’s coming up for three years I’ve been the host of Finger In The Pie Cabaret, but a few years before that I did some of my first cabaret gigs in town as an act for the Finger In The Pie!
What got you into the cabaret scene?
I come from a theatre background, I wrote my first show and played a drag queen in it for about ten minutes. The venue I was at suggested that I should head out on the cabaret scene to promote the play. I did and it worked really well, the cabaret bookings kept coming in after the play had finished and I just kept on going. Next year I’ll be celebrating a decade of cabaret!
Have you had any other “characters” or “personas” in your career to date?
Of course! For my cabaret work as a host/compere I’m always myself. But over the years I’ve had various characters who do set bits. I played a guy called Alex Heath who was a big fan of Gary Glitter. I played a club kid or was having corrective surgery to look like Britney Spears. I even sometimes have played myself dressed as a man which was probably the most outrageous!
What about your job do you enjoy the most?
The live interaction! I always want cabaret to be in the moment. I love being able to give the audience what is needed for that time we’re sharing – I don’t really like working to a set list I like to see where an evening is going and bring out material that suits.
What do you enjoy the least?
Getting ready and carrying around costumes. On the way to a gig I always look like a gap year student with my huge ruck-sack.
What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you?
When I was eight and did my first stint in drag I played the Sugar Plum Fairy – I got so into character that I ended up dancing off of the stage.
What would you say are your top five career highlights?
1 – Confessions Of A Dancewhore (my first theatre show) starting in a studio theatre at drama school and ending up at Trafalagar Studios after a long London run and tour.
2 – Dracula for NBC – I played a Victorian Drag star.
3 – My Stonewall piece – I wrote it about eight years ago and it’s the most booked piece of work I’ve ever done. I never get tired of being asked to do it! https://youtu.be/A5i24VxE_RQ
4 – Hosting at Trafalgar Square for Pride this year.
What is your biggest claim to fame?
Working with Sinitta? We tweet. It’s very showbiz! Ha! Honestly, all the list above really – but if I had to choose one probably Dracula. Most of my stuff ended up on the cutting room floor but it was fun to play with the big boys on an international scale rather than just playing a gig in glorified toilet!
What is your party trick?
Making up lyrics to songs. When my pianist Sarah and I gig together and we get requests we’ll always have a go – I like making the words up to ones I don’t know. It often improves the songs…
What is your drink of choice (for the kinder audience members, should they be so inspired)?
Fizz and Gin – separately or together. I’m not fussy!
What would you be doing if you were not a performer?
Big business. Power suits, bossing people around. Possibly going on The Apprentice.
What’s your favourite joke?
The fact that I get paid for wearing heels and talking crap…?
Who are your favourite cabaret acts on the scene at the moment?
I have lots. When you work on the scene you obviously see a lot of acts. When I’ve night off I want to go and see someone who I know always delivers and makes every occasion a one off. If I’m looking to go and see cabaret I’ll always be happy to see Myra Dubois, Virgin Xtravaganzah, Lolo Brow, Sarah Louise Young, Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho or Tricity Vogue. In that mix I think there’s something for every occasion!