THE CRASS MENAGERIE: EU OK, HUN? | London, Matchstick Piehouse

The Matchstick Piehouse (next door to New Cross station) has a resident burlesque night once a month called The Crass Menagerie and it’s utterly glorious. This month’s theme was naturally themed around Brexit, with some hilarious and sexy results. This is cabaret at its most anarchic, the audience squeezed onto sofas under a railway arch. Nicola Sturge-On provided immaculate compering, including a kazoo-a-long audience rendition of Jerusalem.

Red Venom kicked things off with a wild, almost frenetic dance of gigantic props resembling European foodstuffs, before lapsing into depressed alcoholism and nipple tassels. Miss Pronounced followed with an outrageously bombastic striptease to “Oom-Pah-Pah” from Oliver!, under the guise of a squealing, busty barmaid from Bavaria.

Michael Hall then offered a highly entertaining, interpretive piece about queer rights in Ukraine (including a soundscape of Grindr notifications and comedy punches). Ménage à Rouge followed with the raunchiest act of the night, the two ladies bearing pretty much all, in an ode to the sexy dances of France (including a Can-Can with audience participation).

Beauté Noire and Lusty Lovejoy played as femme anthropomorphic incarnations of European Union and the U.K. respectively, going through all the stages of a break-up to a killer soundtrack. Hannah Clift brought the house down with her stand up as whiny, stuck-up Britannia, closing by belting out “All By Myself” to gigantic audience cheers. Cabaret star Paulus closed the evening with a selection of his stand up and songs.

The Crass Menagerie is queer, homegrown Burlesque at its absolute finest, and a real tonic for troubled times.

Book for The Crass Menagerie and other cabaret acts online. Tickets from £5.

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