Edward Mercieca: ‘As I grow old, I well up much easier. I have no problem with it’

From Shakespeare to Panto, from musical theatre to straight drama, the consummate actor Edward Mercieca’s roles have included Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, Toby Belch in Twelfth Night, Bottom in A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Billy Flynn in Chicago, Horatio P. Hogwash in a UK Tour of Robinson Crusoe and recently Pickering in My Fair Lady and Harry in Mamma Mia. What will he do next?

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

I perform my ablutions, make the bed, walk the dog, grind my coffee, stew it, take my medication and go to the office upstairs.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit!

What do you never leave the house without?

My keys and my phone.

Pick three words that describe yourself

Big, loud and sensitive.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Being half of what made FM Theatre productions and Stagecoach such an amazing success. The other half, of course, is Marika.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Anything that fucks up my blood sugars. I’m a Type-2 diabetic!

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

“Is-sħab fl-ajru!”

What’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?

My car.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

I wish I knew how to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Who’s your inspiration?

A number of people, my father, my ex-boss Anthony J. Tabone, Marika, my children. Many other people inspire me in different things.

What has been your biggest challenge?

I’m not sure if it was my biggest but it certainly was one of the biggest and that was producing My Fair Lady AND Mamma Mia back to back!

If you weren’t an actor, what would you be doing?

Geneticist.

Do you believe in God?

Absolutely and unequivocally.

If you could have dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would it be?

Eric Morecambe.

What’s your worst habit?

Ask Marika!

What are you like when you’re drunk?

Can’t remember, I haven’t been drunk since I went to University 34 years ago!

Who would you have play you in a film?

Alfred Molina.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Hunger for power at all costs.

What music would you have played at your funeral?

Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin…

What is your most treasured material possession?

My bass guitars.

What is your earliest memory?

Hanging on for dear life onto my father’s car steering wheel, screaming and crying as he attempted to drop me off on my first day of school at Stella Maris, Balzan. I think I was three-and-a-half years old. He eventually gave up and drove me to my nanna’s house in Sliema, who took me to Balzan by bus and handed me over to a moustachioed nun to whom I gladly ran and went inside! But the memory is as clear as crystal.

When did you last cry, and why?

I cry regularly – as I grow old, I well up much easier. I have no problem with it. It could be a situation, a cartoon, a movie, watching incredible talent perform, beautiful music, music that makes me reminisce.

Who would you most like to meet, Why?

Judi Dench. She is an amazing actress who is so versatile and it would be great to meet her. However I am always wary of meeting an idol because one can so easily be let down. We don’t really know these people so we build up a persona which can very easily be totally inaccurate.

What’s your favourite food?

Steak.

Who’s your favourite person on social media right now?

No one.

If you could travel in time, where would you go? 

The 1960s.

What book are you reading right now?

Not reading at the mo. Well I lie, I read my script every day.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Tell in an instant who is lying! I would be incredibly busy these days just hearing our filthy politicians speak!

What’s one thing you want to do before you die?

Don’t have anything as drastic as that. But I would like to do an Alaskan cruise, visit India but these are just things on my bucket list. If they don’t happen they don’t happen!

What music you are listening to at the moment?

Cream.

In the shower or when you’re working out, what do you sing/listen to?

I never sing in the shower, but I listen to BBC Radio 2 whenever I can. For me it’s the perfect radio station.

TELL US

What’s your favourite thing about Maltese panto?

I think it really grabs hold of the maltese psyche and gives it a twirl. It makes us laugh at ourselves. As a nation i think we find that a bit hard becasue we are all so touchy about everything, religion, politics, sexuality. Panto is a bit of a chill pill.

What should the audience expect from this year’s panto, Sleeping Beauty?

Fun, mayhem, adventure, magic, much satire and comedy and a storey where, as opposed to reality, good does triumph over evil.

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