Just under a month ago, we attended our second-ever transition event (which you can read about at https://rhysreviews.com/2023/02/19/transition-2-event-review/) which was an evening celebrating the trans, intersex and non-binary community! This event took place in the brand new cabaret stage at Wales Millennium Centre and we have returned this time to celebrate LGBTIQ+ Global Majority People in Wales. For those who are not familiar with the term global majority, this refers to people who are Black, Asian, Brown, dual-heritage, indigenous to the global south, and or have been racialised as ‘ethnic minorities’ as these are the people most affects by the work of Glitter Cymru. This charity founded in 2016 aims to amplify the voices of queer people from the global majority with people who have been directly helped by their work gracing the stage throughout the evening. Not only was this a ticket to a wonderfully entertaining and joyously camp event but it was supporting an extremely important charity helping those in our community!
In fact, the entire evening was hosted by Rahim who has been directly helped by the wonderful charity. Over the past few years, I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Rahim El Habachi explore with a plethora of talents over the past couple of months. Wherever his classic belly dancing abilities, hilarious spoken word (during his performance during XXXmas Carol which you can read about at http://fairypoweredproductions.com/xxxmas-carol-review/?fbclid=IwAR2FIzyoRvvs_NmpH27mz4C9N_a2UHCShHh5V7btXyACcz4CS6vryUSNFJs), flexing his acting muscles (during The lion, the b*tch and the wardrobe which you can read about at https://getthechance.wales/2022/12/16/review-the-lion-the-btch-and-the-wardrobe-wales-millennium-centre-by-rhys-payne/?fbclid=IwAR18UYxRBTVGgeN2i35Lu5KdBEjOj9rJYrhXqw37PlmkI9C0OCr75nYzhfk) and now he is turning his head to hosting responsibilities! A highlight of the night for me were the self-declared time fillers where Rahim instructed everyone to take photos of him as he posed in performer-inspired poses or told the story of going to a physic for life advice as they did exactly what they needed to do while having the audience in stitches throughout. I thought he was a fantastic host as he introduced and got the audience excited for each act, helped to cover up scene/performer changes, interviewed every act after their performance and even explained the importance of charities such as Glitter Cymru! It would not be a Rahim show of the audience were not treated to a bit of belly dancing which was, as always, captivating to watch but the split performer/host role allowed him to really open up to the audience and discuss some really important ideas. Seeing the host become overwhelmed with emotion after a particular act (which I will talk more about later) and discussing how he was an asylum seeker was so powerful and can only help to battle the stigma refugees still face today! The balance of hype-person and emotional representative is not an easy duality to maintain but Rahim seemed totally natural within this role!
The amazing Rokat graced the stage and treated the audience to a rather eccentric original song called ‘Medicine Man’ which was based on a real-life conversation he had before. This number was extremely energetic and unique with Rokat busting out ridiculously rapid spoken word verses that was incredible to witness as well as also singing in a range of languages including German! One of the most powerful performances of the evening however came from the founder of glitter Cymru Vish who delivered a spoken word piece detailing failed love affairs, gender identity and the importance of friendship which took the audience on an absolute emotional rollercoaster throughout. Vish had managed to nail the art of comedic timing which is really not an easy thing to master but they did this with ease leading the burst of laughter from the audience constantly. As previously discussed balancing comedy with heart-wrenching moments is very difficult but Vish managed to take the audience on a journey through every possible emotion during their performance. At the end of the number, Rahim joined Vish on stage and talked about the impact the latter had had on his life with him getting visibly overwhelmed with emotion by the end of the post-performance interview.
In the second act the audience were treated to a performance by the relatively new queen TokKken Blaq (which is a brilliant name by the way) who is someone I have been familiar with for a while but have yet to see them performer and my god did they perform! Having met Token on numerous nights out and seeing them dance during audience participation segments in touring drag shows (namely Disney villains ball which you can read about at https://rhysreviews.com/2021/11/02/disney-villians-ball-event-review/) I knew they were a very talented dancer and choreographer but I was not aware how much of a show they could put on! TokKken graced the stage as a sort of gangster-infused Tinkerbell with iconic moments from Peter Pen mixed into their set which was great to see! I have to say that never in my life have I been so close to someone performing a death drop which was absolutely amazing! My favourite performer of the night would have to be Ayoube however, who is a childhood friend of the host. His first number was totally acapella with the audience simply signing “oohs” under his incredible voice. Singing without a backing track is incredibly intimidating but Ayoube sounded amazing and appeared totally comfortable in this situation. His second performance however really tugged in the heartstrings as Rahim joined him on stage to dance with both performers clearly having a lot of fun. Seeing the two queer Moroccans simply have a camp time on stage in front of an audience (which they were both clearly unfazed by) is such a powerful statement about freedom and queer visibility that I could not help but shed a tear or two! Bookending the entire show was Rahim who led the audience in a rendition of the Gloria Gaynor anthem “I will survive” and if there was ever a song to end a night of queer celebration then this was it!
Overall, this was a wonderfully camp celebration of a plethora of art forms (dancing, live singing, spoken word etc) while supporting an extremely important and worthwhile cause. Seeing people talk about seeking asylum and even singing in their native tongue is so powerful especially when those places are not accepting of the LGBT community. I would rate this event 4 out of 5 stars! I do have to say that I personally am thoroughly enjoying the spectrum of shows that the cabaret stage has called home thus far and hope it can continue to be an inclusive and safe space that lifts up local queer stories! If want to find out more about the space then you can do so at https://www.wmc.org.uk/en and scroll down to check out the cabaret stage!