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| January 27, 2020

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Interview with Matt Roper: Wilfredo on Stage / Wilfredo on Film: A Celebration

Interview with Matt Roper: Wilfredo on Stage / Wilfredo on Film: A Celebration
Howard Gorman
Freshly touching down back in the UK after a highly praised appearance at the recent Cape Town Comedy Festival, the wonderful singing superstar of international repute – the wonderful Wilfredo – is making a welcome return to Leicester Square. Not only will he be amusing audiences as he sings a few hits, nails a few notes and bust a few moves but this exclusive performance will come included with a special screening of the documentary short ‘Wilfredo Comes To Town’, directed by Mat Snead. With the performance right around the corner I caught up with the man behind the legend, Matt Roper to see just what his jet-setting alter-ego had been up to lately.

So you’ve recently appeared at the Cape Town Comedy Festival. How is Wilfredo accepted over there?

They seem to love him. How could they not? His attitude is too infectious.

I hear you met Archbishop Tutu the other night. How did that come about and what did he have to say to Wilfredo?

Well, a show we did was to raise funds for his foundation. I’d just performed a song and then the Arch was introduced to the stage to thank everybody for coming and we all lined up to receive him. He shook all of our hands, Wilfredo said “thankyou, your Grace” I think. He has this big, deep, hearty laugh. A nice moment for all of us performing.

Desmond Tutu meets the performers after the Desmond and Leah Tutu Foundation fundraiser

Now you’re bringing your show Wilfedo on Stage / Wilfredo on Film to London. It features the fly-on-the-wall documentary short Wilfredo Comes To Town. What made you feel the need to share his life on film with audiences?

Well, it was Mat Snead’s idea. He approached me at the Edinburgh Fringe and expressed a desire to collaborate on a little film. So that we’ve done. He’s known for his films with performance artists mainly. Fancy Chance, Taylor Mac and so on. So to make a film about Wilfredo is the next natural step for him I think!
If I’m not mistaken I believe you have been laying down a few tracks from last year’s Ed Fringe solo show. How is that going? 

Yes – that will be out in September. Then we’ll start work on a show for 2014.
With Pippa Evans (as Loretta Maine) you co-wrote and recorded Happy Goddamn Christmas last year which peaked at #6 on the iTunes UK Comedy Charts. How did you end up getting involved with Loretta and have you removed the restraining order?
Recording the song was OK as we didn’t have to be in the studio at the same time. But when we were making the video to the song she was difficult. Drinking on set. Shouting at the production team. Threatening to “f*ck you all up” and so on. Punching me in the face when the director told her a mime would be quite enough. I’ve read that while she was on tour in Australia she called me a “clit-tease” and suchlike. I can’t pay any attention to it really. She knows I’m sensitive and she feeds on that like a leech.
Talking of collaborations. I do believe that the BBC rang you to ask Wilfredo to play the new Doctor Who, but you were only willing to accept should Mana Maria play the assistant. Did they agree?
We’re in negotiations, haha! I think the two of them would make a formidable on screen pairing in whichever roles they were placed. I think we should train Mana Maria up to fight Yakusa style. She’d have been great in the Uma Thurman role in Kill Bill, for example. That sort of thing, with Wilfredo as her master, sending her off on killing missions in her tanned popsocks. A new direction. We shall see.

So to finish off, what can audiences expect when they head over to see you next month in Leicester Square?

A new song or two, a few signature tunes, a little screening of the film and plenty of fun. Smiles. Spittle. And Mana Maria.
And what should they certainly not expect?
Loretta Maine…

Wilfredo on Stage/Wilfredo on Film: A Celebration plays the Leicester Square Theatre on Fri 12 July at 10pm.

Tickets can be booked here.

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