Meow Meow: 'Cabaret has a sexual energy. The atmosphere is electric'


Cabaret is having a renaissance because of the blandness of TV and films We all crave genuine excitement, that true gasp of surprise or joy, and that's what cabaret can bring, by assaulting the senses from as many levels as possible. For me, it's about my pose and my shrieks, political satire as well as long fishnet legs in the air; tackling loads of emotions gives you a glimpse of human excess, and its frailty.

I'm obsessed with shaking up an audience's expectations Cabaret should be unpredictable and exciting. More and more the audience will film me, and because there is a screen in front of their faces, they feel separate and passive; they've lost the sense of specialness of real flesh. So for me it's become a hilarious mission of screaming at them, "I'm not a television." We are in live theatre – anything could happen.

Crowd-surfing shouldn't be the sole province of rock stars I started doing it in my performances as an expression of joy, and I've been very lucky, as I've not been dropped yet; I've got long ballet legs, so my weight gets distributed between a number of guests. It's such an interesting human experiment: who will touch you, who will move out of the way?

Music is a direct line to the heart A great song is something you can perform or listen to throughout your life and its meaning changes as you age. When I'm singing Brecht material, such as "Surabaya Johnny", which I've sung all my life, I feel its history and I become non-existent, like I'm channelling it through me. There are a lot of Radiohead songs that blow me away, too; it's exhilarating being shaken by a song.

It's disingenuous to pretend that Cabaret is not about objectification There's a sexual energy there. I want to make the atmosphere electric. It's not unique in society, we all do it – even politicians are objectified – but why not have the joy of looking at beautiful things? I have long legs and gorgeous bosoms, so I would be stupid not to make use of them; I throw myself on the mercy of the crowd and say, "Consume me, but be gentle."

I'm a mad fan of technology but at the same time it's easy for people to sit back in the darkness with their laptops, write mean comments and forget how it can affect others; we are all fragile human beings and I want people to feel individual responsibility. I find the anonymous trolling phenomenon [of posting inflammatory messages online] awful.

I sometimes feel filthy viewing the images of devastation from japan The journalists are trying to evoke the terrible destruction, but sometimes it just feels sensationalist; trying to behave with responsibility is difficult with all this information – you don't want it to descend into disaster fetishism.

I think you could sue the us government for manslaughter When there's so much wealth, you shouldn't have to fight for it. Just look at the health system they have there. People still can't afford the insurance and don't go to a doctor unless they are seriously ill, and by then it's often too late.

I'm a worrier My nightmares are always full of tidal waves chasing me on to the stage. I dream that I've not learnt my lines, I've put my stockings on over my pointe shoes and instead of drawing on eyeliner, the pencil is out of control and I'm drawing a huge Dali moustache on my face. But I can easily access joy; I'm a critical optimist.

Meow Meow is a performance artist. She is currently in 'The Umbrellas of Cherbourg' at the Gielgud Theatre, London W1, runs to 1 October ( delfontmackintosh.co.uk). For more on her cabaret act, visit meowmeowrevolution.com

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