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Friday, June 14, 2024

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Jason Reid’s Cabaret Interview: Paulus & The Wizard of Poz

To coincide with the festive season, I spoke to cabaret stalwart and all-around delight Paulus, whose new adult panto The Wizard Of Poz: Defying Bigotry plays at Two Brewers throughout December. 

Why did you decide to go with the idea of The Wizard Of Poz, which is very eye-catching indeed, and how will it be executed? 

I’m nearly fifty years old now, and I was thinking about people of my generation and sex and sexuality, and wondering just how much of that time has been dominated by fear when it comes to the pleasure that physical intimacy can give us. In a world that is so much more non-binary, so much more polyamorous, the idea that there’s any sexual health issue that is only for gay people or only for straight people, is so dumb. And there are just so many misnomers out there still about sex and sexuality, and I wanted to dispel some of them. 

 

The show’s slogan is ‘defying bigotry’. Tell us about that. 

My role as the Wicked Witch Of the West is to embody this antiquated idea around sexuality and sexual health, and the differences between gay and straight, and even men and women as this time-travelled, monstrous version of Margaret Thatcher. Does that sound weird enough for you at Christmas time?

What makes for a perfect panto?

I saw my first panto when I was seven years old, and I think the interaction with the audience — the lack of a fourth wall, as we say in the business, that obviously pantomime shares with the cabaret world I’ve been involved in for years — is the really exciting thing. I love that engagement.

 

Your professional highlight of 2022?

My tribute to Victoria Wood, Looking For Me Friend, which was at the Edinburgh Festival this year. I’m super proud to have performed every day for a month. The average audience at the festival was four people this year, and I averaged over 40 every day from start to finish. Now I’m sharing the show, and Vic’s work, up and down the county. It’s such a joy to share. 

 

Favourite Christmas song? 

I am a Fairytale Of New York fan, and it must be Kirsty MacColl’s vocals. I know the lyrics are contentious but I’m nothing if not contentious myself. Kirsty actually already gave alternative lyrics many decades ago when she was still with us. I’ve had that chat with her son which is one of my proudest afternoons.

 

You’ve been granted one Christmas wish. What are you wishing for?

I’m gonna wish for Good News (with a capital g and a capital n) because I tried to find some the other day instead of turning on the Radio 2 bulletin, — it’s not that easy to find. Wouldn’t it be lovely if we had good news on the hour on our TVs and radios and phones? Where is the good news? That’s what I’d like to know. I know it’s out there, but it’s not being shared with us. 

The Wizard Of Poz: Defying Bigotry runs from Weds 7th – Thu 22nd at Two Brewers, 114 Clapham High St, SW4 7UJ. Check their website HERE.

 

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