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The Goddess Tantric Massage Parlour: Jacqueline Haigh's candid comedy show based on her former career

(Image by Joolz Barker, courtesy of Face In Hole)

Writer and performer Jacqueline Haigh reveals the inspiration for Goddess, appearing at the Museum of Comedy on Thursday 27 & 29 February.

The last time I wrote an article for Run-Riot was August 2018. I was about to start my run at Edinburgh Fringe Festival of my one-woman sitcom "Goddess," a true story about my experiences working as a receptionist in a Tantric Massage parlour.

That summer, I took the show to the Free Fringe. It started slowly, but gradually word of mouth got around and the audiences grew. By the final performance, it was so full, I had people sitting on the floor and had to turn others away! It was so hot during the show I thought the punters might get too deeply into character and start stripping off!

It was also on that final, sweaty performance that the first reviewer came – Robert Peacock from The Wee Review, who makes a heroic effort to seek out shows that haven’t been reviewed and don’t have a big PR team behind them. I was delighted to receive a lovely four-star review - the week after the festival closed. Very Tantric in a way!

This gave me the boost I needed to keep going. Based on what I had learnt in Edinburgh, I made a few changes, then re-launched the show. I decided that I would say yes to performing wherever I was invited, including a tattoo parlour in Portsmouth, a Poitín bar at Glastonbury Festival, and a real Goddess temple in Sheffield!

I took the show back to Edinburgh last August, this time to Sweet Venues. I sold out some performances and picked up more good reviews. The whole time, I was tweaking the show; adding a new joke here, a funny prop there. I still am. Well, they say that any artwork is never finished, it’s just abandoned, and I haven’t given up yet!

The show even has a new title; “The Goddess Tantric Massage Parlour.” At the end of this month, I’m dusting down the Goddess wear and performing at the Museum of Comedy. For those that don’t know the venue, it’s fantastic; a must visit for any comedy lover.

Founded by the director of Leicester Square Theatre Martin Witts, it’s an interactive, immersive museum, which features iconic comedy memorabilia, selected from Witts collection of 6000 items amassed during his 30-year career in the comedy industry.

Just a few minutes from Holborn station, the Museum is located in the undercroft below St George’s Church. As you walk in, you’re greeted by Steptoe and Son's huge stuffed bear. Then you can see Tommy Cooper's handmade magic props, the Spitting Image heads and Bill Bailey's famous 6-neck guitar.

The Museum also hosts live comedy. The programme features a wonderful range of acts – famous names trying out their work in progress before they hit the big venues or up and coming comedians showing their wares. The week before me there’s some newbie called Paul Merton doing improv. I don’t think he’ll go far!

You can also study comedy at the Museum with legendary comedy guru Logan Murray, with whom I trained. It was when I attended one of his courses on MCing that I first saw the Museum of Comedy’s beautiful theatre. It has red velvet curtains and feels very intimate - it even looks like a Tantric Massage parlour!

As soon as I walked in, I felt, this is the perfect place to perform for my show. And, a year later, I am.

I’ll be at the Museum of Comedy for two nights only; I hope you can join me. It’s worth coming to see the League of Gentlemen’s pig snout if nothing else!

The Goddess Tantric Massage Parlour plays 7pm on Thursday 27 & 29 February at the Museum of Comedy.

jacquelinehaigh.com
@JacHaigh