Intrepid reporters Jenny Cottee (words) and Sydney Kauffman (video) enjoyed the shock of their lives at a not-yer-typical East End song-and-dance night. Be warned!
With a name like Baby Lame’s Shit Show, we should have known what we had let ourselves in for. But in our defence the pub looked like any pub you would find in East London.
My friend Sydney and I had heard that East London was beginning to build up its own drag and cabaret scene, distinct from its glitzy West End counterpart. So, having obtained tickets, a name and a place, we ventured East to see what would be our first ever ‘alternative’ cabaret.
First glances around the venue, a pub called the Glory Hole, held no clues as to what the show would consist of. It appeared to be just a cosy, English pub that you could get a reasonably priced drink at. Only when the cellar door opened and we were told that the show would be happening down there, did things start to get interesting.
Climbing cautiously down the cellar steps, balancing a drink in one hand and a camera in another, we entered a dimly lit room, with chairs set around a makeshift stage. Settling into our chosen seats, we waited for the start of a performance that would eventually blow all our expectations out of the water.
The first act was relatively tame: three ‘ladies’, one heavily bearded, embraced their inner Hocus Pocus, i.e. they posed as witches, dancing a spell and concocting a potion to unleash the sexual fantasies of an especially nerdy looking individual.
The second act provided more of a taste of things to come. Slumped over a toilet, this performer sang a homage to her poo, picking it out of the toilet and rubbing it all over herself (I am choosing to assume it was fake), while embracing her inner Miley Cyrus with a rendition of ‘Wrecking Ball’. This piece concluded with said performer smearing some of the quasi-faeces on the faces of unsuspecting members of the audience, and pretending (we hope) to defecate into the lavatory on stage.
(Brings a new meaning to the term ‘toilet gig’ – Editor.)
Act No 3 was equally strange and disturbing: a female comedian pretended that a raw chicken was her baby, circumcised the chicken, then shoved her hand up it and made it dance. She also had an audience member slow-dance with her ‘ex-boyfriend’, aka a male blow-up sex doll, all the while singing and shouting orders for them to dance closer and look into each other’s eyes.
Act Four included more dancing: a woman embraced her inner cow; she had condoms filled with milk hanging out of her underwear, which she then used in order to milk herself (if you see what I mean) into a bucket; all this in between bouts of dancing, with a soundtrack consisting of Gwen Stefany yodelling. The aforementioned bucket of milk was then offered to the audience. I was one of the lucky ones, although I preferred to have some of it poured over me rather than risk drinking any of it.
Act No 5 was surely the classiest of them all. A blonde in white lingerie mimed passionately to a song about betrayal and how she caught her boyfriend and another girl together. The song dramatically climaxed with her taking an overdose of pills, then suffering from fecal incontinence – all down her legs and onto the stage.
After a much-needed intermission, our host Baby Lame introduced the second half by singing the praises of her ‘shit show’. The next act featured men dressed as vampires dancing suggestively to the Backstreet Boys and doing a Magic Mike-style strip. All seemed oddly normal, until they whipped out realistic-looking dildos from their underwear and began to ejaculate blood on to each other. Two of them then ducked underneath the other one’s cape and resurfaced with a mouthful of blood and a cheeky grin. The act ended, stripper-style, with a row of six bum cheeks facing the audience.
The seventh act was when the madness hit a whole new level. One guy and one girl came on stage dressed as pigs in suits. The guy began to play electric guitar while the girl sang something from Metallica mixed in with piggish squeals. Gradually the singing stopped and the pig noises took over; meanwhile she began to strip off, eventually revealing her whole body painted pink. Finally she rolled around and writhed across the stage, still squealing, ending it with a middle finger and a ‘fuck you’ to David Cameron (who was infamously associated with all manner of piggery in a wholly unauthorised biography published in 2015 – Ed.).
Then on came Baby Lame, calling out her ‘boyfriend’ and accusing him of sleeping with another member of the audience. She then duck-taped the boyfriend to a chair in the middle of the stage, while she sang to him about his cheating. The chorus was ridiculously catchy and in the end she had all of us singing along and chanting ‘let me smell your dick’.
Guest Act No 8 was the show’s mystery guest (It’s all a mystery to us – Ed), which began with the performer coming on stage in a ghost costume, waving a ribbon in people’s faces. The ribbon disappeared to reveal a heavily bearded woman dressed as Whitney Houston, who mimed to various Whitney songs while performing appropriately, e.g. pretending to consume a tray full of drugs and standing on a chair with a giant straw in order to snort cocaine.
It was only fitting that the final act should be the most alarming in the entire show. A small, un-prepossessing woman dressed as Prince came on stage and began to mime to one of his songs, at one point whipping out a ukulele and playing it with gusto. It was only when she had completely stripped off her bottom half, that we became suspicious. And so, when she came to the song ‘Purple Rain’, she pulled a table with a jug on it to the centre of the stage. She then climbed up onto the table, squatted and pissed into the jug. And if this wasn’t crazy enough, when she had finished she drank all her pee – to the cheers of the audience (me included)
Overall, Baby Lame’s Shit Show was one of the most disturbing, intriguing and amazing shows I have ever seen. Talking to Baby Lame afterwards, I was impressed by her level of commitment to the show – even to the point of offsetting some of the running expenses herself. This revelation only led me to love the show even more – I could see that in her mind dedication to alternative art was paramount; there was much more to it than simple shock value.
So, is it stomach churning and disturbing? Yes. Would I go again? In a heartbeat! I’m pleased to report that the Shit Show is now running once a month at the same venue (Surely it’s unrepeatable –Ed.)