When you think of Mr. Blobby, you probably think of children’s TV in the 90s, or perhaps some associated nightmares you had in your youth about the big pink blob invading your house while you screamed “Blobby!”. How about putting someone through a table, would you associate that with Mr. Blobby?
The question arises because that is exactly what many people saw on a recent wrestling show. Riot Cabaret is where it happened, where wrestling is one aspect but pure performance and a show is the other.
“A lot of the feedback has been that you don’t have to like wrestling. You don’t have to be into or love wrestling is great but it’s all the other stuff, which is an important part of what Riot is,” said Sean Thorne, who along with James Lawrence played the shows.
Riot Cabaret came from a little chat while the two were attending Wrestlemania 2019. James said, “With WrestleMania weekend, the whole area where the show is going on is this smorgasbord of wrestling. There’s so much of it. It’s just like a charcuterie of everyone really nice wrestling fun stuff.
“And we were there and we would kind of have we talked about like, Oh, if we were going to run a promotion, you know, how would we do it? What would be our kind of angle? What would we do? And at the end by that weekend we’d seen so much wrestling that had gotten mixed up in one that we were actually kind of determined to go, no, we could actually do something with this.”
What they have created is one of the hottest nights out in Clapham on a Tuesday. They throw around so many new ideas to make their show different from the rest, to bring in the casual observer and wrestling fan. To create a product that has two distinct halves that support and rely on each other to create a wonderful whole.
James said: “The process is basically we just throw all the ideas at each other. There’s a good level of freedom. There’s no such thing as a bad idea because you never know if it might actually land. There have been some ideas that have didn’t seem right but basically our philosophy has always been, how can we just make this more than just a wrestling match? How can we elevate it a little bit to something that’s not done anywhere else, for someone who doesn’t watch professional wrestling , so they can still understand, something that WAS.”
The whole show is a big celebration of performance art, with songs, stunts, comedy and theater all told through wrestling. While the front-facing side of Riot is great, it’s also behind the scenes that the two are working hard to make sure they’re implementing the right practices for the artists as well.
Sean said, “We had a very clear vision of how we wanted to run this company in terms of implementing things that could be at the time. We wanted to implement things that weren’t something that wasn’t common in professional wrestling. So we wanted have policies on conduct and dignity at work. We wanted to have safeguarding procedures we wanted to kind of do all these things and build that foundation first.
“That’s what we had to do from our experience of our own professional background because that was the standard we wanted. We wanted the standards to be on par with our background in radio, theater, TV, all that kind of thing. So we went kind of putting together a way to run a show very much using our experience from those industries and standards and practices from those industries. Instead of using a template from like wrestling just in general.”
Both Sean and James want to develop Riot Cabaret even more so that there is more interaction with the audience to make everyone there feel part of the product. They talk about immersive elements they want to incorporate into the show to elevate the experience to “give people a different kind of insight into what wrestling can be.”
James said: “I think in terms of where the right cabaret goes next, how it expands I think at the moment, it’s going to be more in terms of the ideas and how we can just do the shows again, for the audience to get there. Even more exciting and something a little more than what happens on just a regular wrestling show.”
Whether it’s Mr. Blobby putting more people through a table in a variety of ways, it’s exciting to see what Riot Cabaret will do next.
Riot Cabaret’s next show is at the Clapham Grand on February 22nd, you can see more here.
You can find The Clapham Grand at 21-25, St John’s Hill, London, SW11 1TT
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