Who are you?
Beard and The Queen are the producers behind Calamity Cabaret with the mission to bring theatre to the club. That is Alex Ratman and Dark Sugar (Thomas W Kelly), the minds behind the roller-coaster experience. We host queer events where artist, audiences and scenes collide in the most deliciously entertaining way.
Bio – Thomas W. Kelly
Thomas W. Kelly creates meaning laughter on stage and for the page. He’s known as Dark Sugar the Drag Queen. He’s a cabaret host, comedian and singer with saucy retorts and a handbag full of fun. Thomas is 10 years a queen, poet and lead singer. More recently he’s a producer hungry for the boundaries between theatre, cabaret and queer art. He’s released various synth-punk tracks with band Ugly Nature, and recently released his debut book of poetry in 2021 called Death & Attraction. Away from his homeland of Perth, West Australia, he follows his passion for live, unbridled storytelling, one audience at a time.
Bio – Alexandru Raț
Alexandru Raț, known in the stage-world as Alex Ratman, is a drama student at the University of Arts London, driving his passion for stand-up comedy through various venues in London. Easily recognizable by his Eastern European accent and his knack for making people laugh, Alex has been exploring with converting numerous art forms into variety on-stage performances. Beard & The Queen is the latest duo, where he is writing, co-producing and promoting what will hopefully become a popular gig in town: calamity cabaret. Blatantly saying YES to anything that challenges his creativity, Alex is looking to create fun and enjoyable experiences.
What’s your project?
Calamity Cabaret is an unpredictable show of drag queens, poets and stand-up comedians all riding in a bouncing, queer, theatrical vehicle. We emerged from Groovie Comedy, performing in Hammersmith and Leicester Sq, and combined forces to host queer events open to all. Thay’s why we host the show in Village 512, a club venue, where you can party after the cabaret until 6am. It’s a full entertainment orgasm where you can express yourself, question the roles of society in a safe space, and sweat it all out.
What’s your gender identity?
Dark Sugar is a queer queen on stage, who flips between and him and a her off stage as Thomas. Alex identifies as a man raised by women, who has the body of a rugby player, and is confused most of the time while dancing topless in gay bars.
How does your queerness influence your art?
Queer performance is key to how we write our skits and host the show – it’s about questioning our roles in society, highlighting injustices, making a laughing stock of ourselves and not having the answers. We programme the show with people from all walks of life, but it’s not about exclusively choosing queer people to perform, it’s about integrating people in a queer scene.
Has your artistic creation changed through the struggles of the Covid years?
Dark Sugar: The covid years made me hungry to get back on stage, and the poverty forced me to approach shows with a DIY style. I got super lonely and built a recording studio during lockdown, which is great because I now I use recorded media in my shows. It just makes sense to focus on community in 2022 with a drive to build a team of queer performers and allies to support the production of Calamity Cabaret. It’s way better when you do it with friends. That’s why we welcomed comedian Wes Defoe and drag queen Umami Monae to the team recently.
Alex: Being stuck at home was uncertain as fuck, that’s why I approach shows with more urgency now because it showed me (once again) that life is fragile and unpredictable. That’s why I focus on controlled chaos, uncertainty and questioning our roles in society in my performances at Calamity Cabaret.
When is your next event ( tell us more about it) ?
It will be on the 25th of Novemberrrr look out 🙂