The Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club has a history that is as fabulous as it is fascinating, and under the capable compere Matilda, it can add the Fatty Fat Fat Cabaret to it’s repertoire; these people must return.
The Fat Cabaret has it’s roots in Brighton, where fat performers of all genders have been wowing audiences with bold, courageous, witty and entertaining performances. It was only a matter of time until other places grew hungry for their work, and, after a smasher of a show at The Vaults in January, London was lucky to get them again.
The Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club is the kind of venue that takes a place on the bill whether you like it or not, but that’s no bad thing. A mixture of ‘shabby chic’ and looking as though 1965 never really ended, The Fatty Fat Fat Cabaret was very much at home among the mirror balls and faded glamour.
Matilda starts by saying, very truthfully, that being a fat person on stage is within itself an act of rebellion and defiance, demanding a spotlight and attention in a way that society at large doesn’t really grant fat people, unless they’re being interrogated. To take centre stage (quite literally in this case) on their own terms was impactful. At one point Matilda shared a self-written poem that brought the house down. Everyone here deserved to be on stage, many of them award winning performers in their own right.
The acts were many and varied, ‘The Night Bus’ brought bell ringing to a whole new world, and it was all the better (and sexier!) for it. Louis F.U.C.K created a powerful piece that brought tears to the eyes and an ache to the heart as well as curative belly laughs. Grace Shush (Miss Sink the Pink) had a verve and energy on stage that demanded attention that we were happy to give to her fierce, fat, femme pride. She graced us with 2 of the best ‘drag reveals’ that I’ve seen in a long time.
After the interval (complete with tantalising buffet) the second half started with a glorious raffle, though sadly, dear reader, my tickets were useless. The performances were as eclectic as they were engaging. Bae Sharam, out of drag, indulged us in some very natural storytelling, revealing that bedsits in Fairlop see more alfresco platters with hummus than you might have previously thought. Bae held attention brilliantly, and I hope I get to enjoy more of the same in the future.
Katie Greenall (the new London ‘Fatbassador’ to compliment the ones in Brighton) brought classical music and crisps to the stage, coming together in a beautifully chaotic cataclysm that filled the room with shared laughter.
As a wonderful, stylish and very sexy finish, the reigning Hamburger Queen Smashlyn Monroe (the first ever ‘Fatbassador’) swept across the room, the stage and our eyes defiantly showing her body, her beauty and herself.
The next Fat Cabaret in Brighton will be featuring fat trans artists for trans pride, hence the title ‘Trans Fats’…what else?! (12th July in Brighton)
See it when you can, and celebrate the beautiful, the everyday, the very human Fatty Fat Fat Cabaret.
© Jezza Donovan 2019
Image: Katie Greenall in Fatty Fat Fat, the theatre show coming to Edinburgh this August