Island hopping round the Canaries doesn’t sound like too bad a way to earn a living – especially compared to the prospect of touring the UK for eight weeks.
But for drag artist Paul Carroll, his alter ego Mrs T, and the Music Hall Tavern team, there’s a lot to be said for the homecoming trip, which gets underway in Blackpool on Saturday night.
“What’s nice with the tour, is that we are travelling in the same machine for eight weeks,” said Paul. “In the Canaries we are on and off planes every day.
“Everything here can go on the bus, we have our seats round a table and we can stop off at the supermarket and stock up when we want.”
Paul set up the Music Hall Tavern in Lanzarote almost two decades ago, after moving to the island from Blackpool, where he had worked as a cabaret singer and musician.
But his stage character Mrs T wasn’t created until two years later – now Paul and the MHT cast perform to 90,000 a year across four venues in Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote, as well as launching an 18-date UK tour last autumn.
There’s a brand new show for this year’s tour, which has built on the success of last year’s debut, with 31 venues now lined up.
“To be starting the tour again at the Grand is great,” Paul said.
“Our management took us there, and said ‘what do you think of this?’ We stood on the stage and said ‘Can you imagine?’... And six months laterwe were there on opening night last year.
“It was nerve wracking, but this year we know what to expect so it’s almost like coming home.
“I started out in Blackpool, but when we left we were struggling to make ends meet and saw a gap in the market abroad. It has gone right round and we are back to headline the Grand – it’s remarkable.”
* Music Hall Tavern, Grand Theatre, Blackpool, Saturday. Call (01253) 290190 to book tickets from £21.50.