Interview with Talia Randall about Question Time Cabaret

Interview with Talia Randall, the creator and host of the upcoming show Question Time Cabaret!

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Talia Randall makes and curates riotous cabaret, bold poetry and joyous theatre. Often acting the chaotic clown on stage, once you scratch the surface you’ll find work that is political, personal and provocative. Talia answers some interview questions about her glitter-drenched political cabaret night called Question Time Cabaret. “Surprising… Hilarious…Brilliant …”, the show is making its Kent debut at The Gulbenkian after sell-out shows in London – come see it for one night only on Saturday January 19th, 7:30pm:

Tell us about your work and what inspires you.

I make and curate political cabaret / comedy shows, I write and perform poetry and I make joyous, (sometimes silly) theatre. I’ve performed all over – Glastonbury, Edinburgh Fringe, Wales Millennium Centre, New York, Croydon. My work is often concerned with power – who has it, who doesn’t and what we can do about it. Sometimes I talk about class, sometimes about gender and sometimes I write idiotic raps about fax machines. My way into performing and making shows was through being part of youth projects in my late teens and early twenties. These projects helped me find my voice and helped me take myself more seriously.

What is Question Time Cabaret? How did it come about?

Question Time Cabaret is exactly how it sounds – a fun and rowdy variety show punctuated with political debate.
There’s a succession of acts from provocative drag, to heart-stopping poetry and in right in the middle of the show there’s a panel discussion where audiences can take part in rabble-rousing debate. All of that in one show. Each show has a different theme with some of the UK’s finest and fiercest performers and journalists delving into current issues. This edition we’re talking the state of the nation in the run up to Brexit – How can we deal with all the uncertainty we’re facing? What are we doing to tackle the spike in hate crime? How do we confront Brexit boredom, frustration and confusion? With Question Time Cabaret we’re trying to create a space where voices who are
often overlooked are heard loudly and celebrated wildly. And I love how the cabaret format can help us explore over burning political issues without being too heavy handed, dull or preachy.
Its a proper fun night out that will move and challenge you as well as entertain.

The show features:
Fagulous: Theresa May impersonating drag queen bringing you a raucous, camp and pantomime villain interpretation of our Prime Minister.
Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan: Educator and poet writing about Islamaphobia and feminism.
Lasana Shabazz: Having worked with the likes of Mykki Blanco expect the unexpected from this visually arresting performance artist.
Jamal Mehmood: Having appeared on BBC Asian Network, BBC Introducing and Media Diversified this multi-talented Kent-based writer brings you thoughtful, sensitive and playful poetry.
Michael Segalov: Contributing Editor at Huck Magazine writing regularly for Vice, The Guardian and The Independent will be on the panel sharing their ideas on the state of the nation
Aaron Thompson: President of the University of Kent Students’ Union and elected member of the NUS Black Students Campaign Committee will be sharing thoughts on how Brexit is affecting the student population.

Wait, I still don’t get what Question Time Cabaret actually is – a political debate or performance night? Is it serious or silly?
Its both! Question Time Cabaret is a variety night with some of the UK’s best comedy, spoken word & drag acts bringing you knock out performances – you will be entertained and moved.
We also throw in a 30 minute panel chat with some leading journalists, activists and thinkers – you will be challenged, engaged and have a chance to ask questions (but you wont be forced to ask questions if you don’t want to!) Expect it to be a rollercoaster, expect to be laughing one minute and roaring the next.

What do the performers have to say about the show?
People could say that me dressing up as Theresa May in fishnets with my bum out is disrespectful, but then I would say she’s not been very respectful to the LGBTQ+ community or other minorities. It feels powerful to perform as the prime minister – and it gives me the opportunity to highlight these things in a way that doesn’t make it too politically preachyFagulous, drag artist and cabaret performer.

I’m really excited to speak on the Question Time Cabaret panel – people often want to talk about Muslims and Muslim women in particular, everyone wants to worry over us and save us but we are so rarely actually given space to speak and be listened to on our own terms regarding the concerns we actually have. I can’t wait.” Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan, poet, activist and writer.

Jonny Brace

Guest Contributor

Communications Assistant for ART31KENT. Marketing Intern for Gulbenkian. A member of Gulbenkian Uncovered. Also a Business & Management student with a love of Musical Theatre, Doctor Who and sweetcorn.