Just off Mare Street and onto Valette Street, a five-minute walk from Hackney Central railway station, there resides a small building, one that you would believe holds historical value. With dated architecture and a large poppy sculpture hanging from the front of the building, you would never believe what goes on in this ‘traditional’ venue.
Tucked away from the hustle and bustle, Moth Club, or the Memorable Order of Tin Hats (M.O.T.H), was established in South Africa in 1927 as a members’ club that supported military veterans. Moth Club Hackney opened in 1972 and has been hosting activities ever since.
It’s a Thursday night and Moth Club is holding the event Hooray Cabaret: The Baby Shower, which showcases “hilarious comedy and raunchy cabaret”, with comedy from Kate Lucas, Joe Jacobs, Candy Gigi and Luisa Omielan. The show is topped with burlesque and a sprinkle of live music at the price of £10, an inexpensive night out for someone on a budget.
“Hi, really sorry, but we are still setting up for the show,” says a nice lady as we enter. We are pointed towards a room where we can wait until the show begins. “The pub is just through them doors.” While walking through, I become transported into another era: there is a large collection of military exhibits, such as medals and paintings, hanging from every wall and a group of elderly men socialising over a pint of beer. It’s not long after that we are called into the hall.
There aren’t many members’ clubs within the UK, leaving the very few remaining in financial struggle. Luckily, Moth Club’s future is looking bright thanks to its partners, Shacklewell Arms, The Lock Tavern and The Adam and Eve, which bring a new nightlife to Moth with a slight change of image and a younger audience. A gold glittered ceiling and a tinsel gold stage are not your ideal traditional workingmen’s club interior, but the medals scattered around the room, hanging from the panelled wooden walls, keep the concept of what Moth Club stands for.
“You may ask why a baby shower? Well, all my friends are doing it in school so why can’t I!” says Victoria Kember. She is the host for tonight, in charge of providing a night full of fun and games, whilst making sure the audience are pumped and full of energy for what shall become an evening that they will never forget.
The first act by Fanny Dent takes to the stage: a burlesque performance with a touch of comedy. Changing the idea of a typical burlesque act [an erotic striptease] into a comical act focusing on women’s bodies and menstruation, the show ends with a finale that sees Fanny Dent and a giant tampon fighting to the soundtrack of Basket Case by Green Day, a scenario nobody could have imagined.
Next is Kate Lucas, a stand-up comedian with a twist, who presents a musical comic act with dark comedy; a show that may not cater to some people’s tastes, but definitely had the Moth audience laughing. Her topics range from Disney and the idea of happy ever after, to a morbid piece looking into parenthood: “What if you happened to hate your own child?,” asks Lucas.
Until now, most acts focused on topics on parenthood, sex or the female body, but when it’s his turn, comedian Joe Jacobs gives a clean cut performance, changing the vibe of the night. His act is about issues that most of the audience can relate to, since it’s formed predominantly of men.
Other acts, like the one by Candy Gigi, take the night to another level of outlandish comedy, with a lot of things happening in a short amount of time. For instance, a chicken is put on a potty and a member of the audience is dragged on stage while someone squirts cream on her and applies red lipstick all over her face. All acts by unorthodox comedian Gigi who says: “Before I go I just want to say, I hope I haven’t been too mainstream for you.”
Luisa Omielan closes the night with her latest comedy act “Am I Right, Ladies?!”, a performance focusing on self-love, body image and empowering one another that reached over one million YouTube hits. “We are always putting each other down and ourselves down,” says Omielan. This passionate London based comedian, talks openly about sex and her weight, while taking off most of her clothes, highlighting her curvy body. As she grabs her belly she says: “ This means I go out to dinner with friends.”
Although this event may not be like your average baby shower, it focuses on topics that aren’t spoken freely about, creating a comedy out of touchy subjects. And although it may not cater to some people’s tastes, it definitely is an experience to talk about on a Friday morning at work. It’s like a 4D film, in your face, and totally unforgettable.