wed 22/05/2024

Six Chick Flicks, Leicester Square Theatre review - funny, frenetic and feminist spoof | reviews, news & interviews

Six Chick Flicks, Leicester Square Theatre review - funny, frenetic and feminist spoof

Six Chick Flicks, Leicester Square Theatre review - funny, frenetic and feminist spoof

Whip-smart parody of the genre

KK Apple and Kerry Ipema deliver polished performances

Spoofing movies or movie genres has been done before, but Six Chick Flicks goes the extra mile. It's a funny, frenetic and feminist take-down of the kind of movies that are aimed at woman, but pretty much always written and/or directed by men.

It's a comedy show, for sure, but movie buffs will love it too for its cleverness.

Written by Kerry Ipema and TJ Dawe and performed with brio by Ipema and KK Apple, two experienced improv actors from the United States, the show is subtitled (...or a Legally Blonde Pretty Woman Dirty Danced on the Beaches While Writing a Notebook on the Titanic) and the duo offer sharp spoofs of the six movies, pointing out illogical plot developments and female characters behaving in ways that no real women ever would.

They make a strong start with Titanic; Ipema is Kate Winslet as Rose and Apple is Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack. Surely there was room for two people on that door, they suggest. It becomes a running gag they drop into each segment.

They mercilessly skewer chick-flick tropes – falling in-love montages, the astonishing impact of a new hairstyle, the always orgasmic sex – as they reference other movies and other roles the actors have played, as well as their personal lives (DiCaprio gets it in the neck). Don't worry if you're a fan of any of the films: it's all done with such obvious affection that you won't be offended.

The gags come thick and fast and there are atrocious puns, as well as some delightfully slow-burn gags. In the Titanic sketch, Jack ponders if there was some submarine that could rescue them, but “not until 2023”. But there's also a more serious intent as Apple and Ipema offer whip-smart insights into Hollywood's male gaze – and don't get them started on Harvey Weinstein...

Using just a few props and an array of wigs, they point to the obvious flaws in the six film's plots – the weirdly dysfunctional friendship at the heart of Beaches, say, or the godawful male-female power dynamic in Pretty Woman. Ipema and Apple also take suggestions from the audience of others they might fillet, improv-style; you'll not be surprised that The Holiday, 10 Things I Hate About You and Thelma and Louise were among the suggestions on the night I saw the show.

The finale is Dirty Dancing, surely the greatest chick flick of all time – and yes, they recreate that dance. It's a triumph.

There's an occasional lull and the duo's earnest plea about the loss of abortion rights in the US – Dirty Dancing had an illegal abortion as one of its storylines, after all – jars ever so slightly, if only in tone, in this polished show. But overall, this is rollicking good fun.

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