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Fringe Q&As: Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho

We speak to Maggie of Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho about warm bovril toast, sandal-wearing Guardian readers and why Alex Salmond is her favourite Scottish comedian. 

Tell us about your Fringe show

It's a satirical drag comedy cabaret musical extravaganza starring ME - Margaret Thatcher! Come and watch me strut my stuff, sing the hits of the 80s, and tell the story about how I went from being Prime Minister to one of the greatest all round entertainers in the world! Plus there's some innuendo, a bit of politics and a cameo from Ian McKellen.

How does it feel to be playing the Fringe for the first time?

Wonderful dear! I've always wanted to come to Scotland to meet my fans. The police warned me I was so popular here that I might even be mobbed in the street. But I came anyway! Initially I was worried about money, but then the YES campaign offered to pay for the whole production - apparently they thought my presence here might help their cause, and I'm very happy to do so! I've never been a fan of unions!

Best live act seen at Fringe?

I'm a big fan of cutting edge comedy, dear. So Eric and Little Ern is right up my street. Also, I hear Jim Davidson is here. I must pop in and give him a few pointers on his performance. Like me, he's going through somewhat of a career resurgence at the moment, he's coming back from years of being labelled a racist, homophobic performer, and I'm coming back from the grave. I think I win.

Best thing about the Fringe?

Me, dear. Me. I don't know how the Fringe existed before I arrived. I'm sure you soldiered on without me but I bet you're all glad I'm here now.

Worst thing about the Fringe?

The cobbles, dear. They're a nightmare in heels. And there's also a certain kind of person here who doesn't seem to like me - the Scots I think they're called. Luckily most of them have gone on holiday and their flats have been taken over by English drama students who don't seem to know anything about politics and therefore have no problem with me at all!

If you were not a performer/comedian what would you be doing?

Prime Minister dear. And I'd be damn good at it. 11 years and no complaints from the country. At least none that I listened to.

What do your family think of your show?

Well, Dennis wanted to come up to support me but I thought it best to leave him back in Chelsea in a lovely boarding kennel. They take him on walks to the golf club and there are lots of other kept men that he can play with. I don't actually know where Mark is at the moment - he said he was going on holiday to South Africa again so no news is good news! And Carol is with me every night, dear. She's working the lights for me. As a result we're plunged into darkness on quite a regular basis - I tried my best with her but even the most remarkable of ovaries can't get it right every time.

How do you combat pre-gig nerves?

Nerves, dear? Do you even know who you're speaking to. I won the bloody Falklands. A bunch of liberal, sandal wearing Guardian readers don't scare me! Having said that I do like to lubricate the wind pipes with some vocal warm ups, a small glass of brandy, a pint of Guinness, a whiskey chaser, two shots of sambuca, as much creme de menthe as I feel like and some warm bovril toast.

Worst on stage experience?

Singing Islands in the Stream with Neil Kinnock at Charles and Diana's wedding reception. We'd both had quite a lot to drink and it wasn't so much what happened on stage as what happened afterwards. Neil and I have never been able to look each other in the eye since. Still, it was fun while it lasted!

How do you recover from a hefty heckle? Do you have a set of stock replies?

After many years doing Prime Minister's question time heckles aren't a problem for me, dear. I deal with them as I always have. With wit, poise and by having the whips take them outside for good doing over.

What do you love about Scotland?

The train station, the airport, the motorway back to England. There's so many Scottish things I love. I've loved it ever since I first discovered its existence - about two years after I stopped being Prime Minister.

What do you like about Edinburgh?

It's the only place I can walk down the street without other people staring. Also, there are so many 70s and 80s tribute acts here I feel like it's my glory days all over again. What am I talking about? The best days are yet to come, dear!

What's the most Scottish thing you've done?

I once went on a weekend retreat to Balmoral. There's nobody more Scottish than the Windsors.

Who's your favourite Scottish comedian?

Alex Salmond. Oh, he does make me laugh.

Favourite joke?

The Conservative party and the Liberal Democrats go into a coalition. That's it, dear. Although I tell you what else makes me laugh - Meryl's performance. What a hoot!

 

Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho is on nightly throughout the Edinburgh Fringe Festival at the Assembly George Square Garden: Bosco at 9.10pm.

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