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“Politics isn’t just grey men on the telly” - Talia Randall tells us about her glitter-drenched take on shouty panel shows

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 riotous cabaret night called Question Time Cabaret. “Surprising... Hilarious…Brilliant …”, the show is making its last ever appearance at the Albany as part of the Rebels season.

After sell-out shows over the last two years this is your last chance ever to see Question Time Cabaret: Thursday May 2nd 7:30pm.

Tell us about your work and what inspires you.
I make and curate political cabaret and 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 including provocative drag, comedy and heart-stopping poetry. Right in the middle of the show there’s a panel 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. How can we deal with all the uncertainty we’re facing? What are we doing to tackle the spike in hate crime? How are we collectively dealing with climate change? How do we even have conversations with each other without it dissolving into a pissing match?

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.

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.

I host the night and the line up is absolutely banging:

Extinction Rebellion: The international movement that gathered thousands of Londoners in April, taking over the streets and asking the government for radical changes against ecological collapse.
Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan: Educator and poet writing about Islamaphobia and feminism.

Chiyo: Self-titled ‘punk trash’ drag king serving porn and politics, arousing, empowering and challenging audiences

Lasana Shabazz: Having worked with the likes of Mykki Blanco expect the unexpected from this visually arresting performance artist.

Kemi Alemoru: Features Editor at Gal Dem, an award-winning magazine run entirely by women and non-binary people of colour.

What do the performers have to say about the show?
“The state of the nation is a big mess... the state is increasingly authoritarian and violent and the nation cannot imagine itself beyond whiteness, so the state of this nation is one on the brink of cannibalizing.

“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

Talia Randall | Instagram | Twitter

Question Time Cabaret
Thursday 2 May | 7:30pm
The Albany
Info and Tickets: thealbany.org.uk

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