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Sunday, June 16, 2024

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Jason Reid’s Cabaret Interview: Jason catches up with the magnificent Miss Penny

Laughter is the best medicine, which is probably why an increasing number of people are seeking out lighthearted shows and artists during these tumultuous times. My interviewee this month is a performer who is naturally hilarious. The magnificent, Miss Penny…

When and why did you become a drag queen?

I started out at Glamorous Show Bar in Birmingham, which I’m sure a few who will read this had either a good night out or a great performance there. I can’t place the exact date but it’s MANY years ago! A queen called Rocky was hosting the karaoke on a Wednesday nightand just asked if I would do it for a giggle — so I said yes! After that I was offered some early spots in a few bars and that’s where it all started. Who knew? [laughs]. There is a lot of laughter at a Miss Penny show. Is that an important factor for you as an artist?

Oh yes! It doesn’t always happen but that goes for all of us artists at some time or another — whether it’s admitted or not. Drag to me is about escapism from the perils of life and the outside world. A time to forget woes (not Adams), relax and laugh!

What do you love and loathe about drag cabaret right now?

I still love the buzz of it all; doing new venues, meeting new people, new artists, and connecting with people. The satisfaction of making people dance, laugh and smile.
It makes you feel warm. I loathe horrid dressing rooms, poor sound systems, and cheap vodka as a ‘premium spirit’ [laughs].

You have a residency at Halfway to Heaven which is a lot of fun. Can you sum up the night?
Camp carnage! A chance for people to win cash and many other prizes from my cards, cabaret and cash — plus some songs I know and some I don’t. Also, I will take the mickey, so you can’t be shy! And always remember — you have tobeinittowinit!

Three drag artists you’d be happy to be stuck in a lift with?

Mrs Moore; who is laugh a minute, and I have the utmost respect and time for her. Snow White Trash; as we always have a giggle and gossip and if she’s got the sax Mrs Moore can sing the swing. LoUis CYfer; as he keeps ignoring my messages and the pics I send him, so I can actually get close to him in the lift [laughs]. I love LoUis!

Away from the stage what makes you happy?

Food, watching old comedies, food, my fella, food, my mummy and my friends. I don’t really do much when I’m not working. I like to relax, cook and bake. Just been doing my gardening, too. I do like to be green- fingered.

With June being Pride Month, what message do you have for your fans and the wider community?

Just be you and who your true self is! There is a lot of hate in the world at the moment and I feel like there is a fair bit of internal hate as well, which isn’t cool. As proven recently with the passing of the beloved Miss Jason and few others, life is too short. Live and let live. Stay safe and don’t let anyone put you down.

Miss Penny’s Cards, Cabaret and Cash is every Wednesday from 8pm at Halfway to Heavens, 7 Duncannon Street, WC2N 4JF

Catch Jason back here next month, as he chats to another cabaret legend.

Give him a follow @jasonreiduk

Jason Reid

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