Adventures in Culture part 9: Lucha Britannia
Things I thought I’d never see happen: An Ewok dancing a sexy burlesque dance. The Virgin Mary singing ‘I’m a masturbator’ to the tune of Britney Spears’ ‘Womaniser’. Waking up with a crude drawing of a penis on my hand.
Well. Last night all of the above happened. And the best bit? It all took place at a Mexican wrestling match in Bethnal Green, East London. Confused? I still am.
Lucha Britannia is a wonderfully bizarre cabaret/immersive entertainment/Mexican wrestling showcase. Now in its eleventh year, they’ve slapped, drop-kicked and clothes-lined their way to sell out shows across London - and even showcased their talents at the Brit Awards.
And this is where I found myself on a slightly chilly April evening.
The show is immersive to the max: the audience are riled up into a frenzy by the MCs and their assistants from the get go. No part of the auditorium is safe - our ringside view was soon interrupted by wrestlers as they flew out of the ring and into the audience (I love a bit of salty sweat in my beer, me!). My group of friends also took their role very seriously: our attempts at homemade funny signs (‘I made a sign’ and ‘I made a better sign’) even got laughs from the wrestlers.
The fighters were hilarious too. All were in classic masks with ridiculous back stories, my favourite being Steakley Bakewell, a flat cap wearing Yorkshire fighter who had the crowd chanting ‘How do? How do? How do? How do?’
And in case you're wondering where the sexy ewok and pro-onanising virgin fit in amid the madness, they were snuggly placed in between fights - and were essential to keeping the night suitably weird. They weren’t the only two acts: a matador also had a member of the audience in the ring to play a bull with dildoes for horns for good measure. So, you know. All bases were covered!
It was sweaty. It was outrageously camp. It was loud. It was ruddy brilliant. It’s well worth going to. Get your tickets via the Lucha website now.
…it’s also the night that keeps on giving: the drawing of a cock on my hand was for re-entry to the venue. The marker they used must’ve been permanent, as it’s still there 24 hours later. I think I may add eyes to it to make it look like a mouse. Any better ideas?
Where to next?
Who knows? If you have a show that I MUST go to, let me know: @stephensonrich.
Until next time, keep it tight.