The Exit Interview: Todd McKenney


WINDOW OR AISLE Aisle on long haul, window on short haul.

ANY PASSPORT MISHAPS? None, thankfully.

I GOT MY FIRST PASSPORT WHEN I WAS 12 in 1977. I felt very important because until then I'd travelled on Mum's passport. We were heading to Disneyland and I was so proud to hand the customs officer my own. 

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR PASSPORT PHOTO? It's much better than my driver's licence photo, which gives you an idea of just how bad that is! Hideous. 

MY LAST TRAVEL DESTINATION WAS London where I went recently to rehearse the role of Frank N' Furter for the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The English director couldn't make it to Melbourne to rehearse me, so the producers flew me to him. It was a six-day whirlwind of a trip. I only saw my hotel room and the rehearsal room but I loved it.

MY NEXT TRAVEL DESTINATION IS the Hawkesbury River. I've taken a long-term lease on a house there and it is my "go to" place for learning scripts and rehearsing songs for my next musical, Barnum.

I'M REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO getting in my little boat and putting up the river to my house. In between learning lines and lyrics, I often jump in the boat and set a crab pot or throw a fishing line in. I am a terrible fisherman – all I seem to catch are catfish, catfish and more catfish – but I love it.

WHAT I REALLY WANT FROM MY NEXT TRIP IS serenity and great weather. But the river is awesome in stormy weather too as I get more work done and watching the water in turbulence is kind of exciting – as long as I don't need to get anywhere as the boat can be scary when it's so rough.


I LOVE TO TRAVEL BECAUSE it invigorates me. I love the planning process and the anticipation of what I am going to find in a new place. When I travel I'm much more inclined to talk to strangers and catch public transport. I've ended up in some very dodgy areas as a result!

MY TRAVEL PHILOSOPHY IS don't over pack, don't just stick to the tourist traps and do ask questions of strangers and locals to find the hidden gems in a city. Just go with the flow.

THE ONE TRAVEL MISTAKE I ALWAYS MAKE IS I over pack! Every time I travel, I only wear half the clothes I take and end up lugging a massive suitcase around for absolutely no reason. I know I do it but that doesn't seem to make any difference.

THE ONE THING I REALLY DO GET RIGHT WHEN I TRAVEL IS getting lost. I can't read a map and I think I know where I'm going when I clearly have no idea. It mostly works out well because I see things I never planned on seeing. In Rome I got so lost I almost cried. It turns out not all roads lead to Rome!

IF I HAD TO SIT IN THE MIDDLE SEAT THE OTHER PASSENGERS I'D WANT ON EITHER SIDE OF ME WOULD BE Bette Midler and Shane Jacobson. Bette because I am her biggest fan and I want to be her new BFF. Shane because he is one of the best talkers on the planet and his stories are brilliant.

THE ONE FAMOUS TRAVELLER I REALLY ADMIRE IS British documentary-maker Louis Theroux. He travels all over the world interviewing people on a range of topics. He asks the tough questions and is never afraid to go to places that aren't safe.

THE ONE FAMOUS PERSON I'D LIKE TO TRAVEL WITH IS theatre producer John Frost,  seeing new shows on Broadway and the West End. With his contacts you'd get great seats and probably free.

I CAN'T STOP GOING BACK TO Hong Kong. Icould live there. It's such a vibrant city and its arts culture is really strong. I go there every year for Art Basel Hong Kong. I stay in Soho and the atmosphere is buzzing – and the food is amazing too.

AIRLINE FOOD IS hit and miss.

AIRPORT SECURITY IS no big deal. I'd prefer to know we are being kept safe when travelling.

HOTELS ARE brilliant. Someone makes your bed, cleans your bathroom and delivers room service, and there's a TV in the bedroom – what's not to love?

I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO GO TO Vietnam. I'd love to do a cooking tour down the Mekong.

I'VE NEVER WANTED TO GO TO anywhere that has 24 hours of daylight. That must be hideous. 

  Todd McKenney is about to play his dream role of P.T. Barnum in the stage musical Barnum in Melbourne from April.