Who has influenced you most professionally? Nick Enright and Max Lambert were incredible mentors during my drama school years. Barry Humphries has always inspired and influenced. Michael Leunig’s cartoons were a massive influence in my early cabaret writing – I wanted to write songs like he created cartoons. Stephen Sondheim casts a pretty massive shadow over everything I do. I also love music and my list of influences here would go on for pages and pages. Suffice it to say that music theatre is an umbrella term for all music: everything from reggae to folk to Afro Cuban to metal is at your disposal. I think it’s important to listen to and love music from across the spectrum. Except maybe dubstep.
Is there any other profession that you would have liked to have followed? I originally wanted to be a visual artist. I studied printmaking at RMIT but for some reason couldn’t express ideas properly. I could draw and create but it was as if I didn’t have anything to say through it. Discovering song writing was a light-bulb moment.
If you could have dinner with a historical figure, who would it be? It’s a totally unfair question, because I have a million answers. But George Gershwin will do for today.
What is your greatest extravagance? I don’t have any problem spending all my money on books, CDs and DVDs because I’ve convinced myself they’re essential when they’re actually not. I find it hard to spend money on clothes because it just doesn’t excite me as much. Although recently I’ve been on a roll with shoes. I have more shoes than my wife which she believes is upsetting the natural balance of things.
Who or what is the love of your life? My wife Lucy, and of course, my two daughters Kitty and Lottie Lux.
What are you optimistic about? Most things, actually. The human brain only remembers the good things and tends to filter out the bad. It’s a biological romanticism we have that allows us to do the same stupid things over and over again. Like writing a musical, or having another baby.
You would like to devote more time to… Writing. Fitness. Cooking. Painting. Everything. There’s never enough time. There wasn’t any time before and then we added kids and now it’s ridiculous.
What is your favourite food? I’m a sucker for duck. And rabbit. And oysters. And charcuterie. Squid. Oh, this is an unfair question.
What is your most treasured possession? I’ve got a great kitchen table.
Which is the opera that got you hooked? Don Giovanni.
Which opera do you never need to hear again? I’ve not worn any of them out yet.
If there’s one quote that really speaks to you it’s… “Hey Mr.Grumpy Gills. When life gets you down do you wanna know what you've gotta do?Just keep swimming.” Dory, Finding Nemo.
You still hope to… Learn to speak French fluently, own a really nice motorbike, compete in a fun run, learn to make cheese, compete in an amateur boxing bout.
Which characteristics do you most admire in others? Warmth, passion, energy. People with a courageous sense of self, who are totally themselves and don’t apologise for it.
You feel guilty when you think about… Every time I’ve been impatient or grumpy with my kids.
What type of holiday do you most enjoy? I’ve only ever experienced the frenetic cultural holiday. I’ve tried to have a relaxing beach holiday but it never works out. We’re a kind of hectic family and want to see and do everything. I like to get inside another culture more than I like to sit on a banana lounge and drink things with umbrellas in them.
Who is your favourite band? Paul Williamson’s Hammond Combo.
The book everyone loved but you could not finish was... Eat Pray Love. I didn’t even start it.
What is your favourite kitchen appliance? My chef’s knife.
How do you stay up to date with new technology and trends? Good question. Google it?
Who is your favourite heart throb? Hello?! “The Gos”, of course.