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Love Letter to Chick Flicks is a Must-See


Six Chick Flicks. Photo courtesy of Warwick Arts Centre.


Six Chick Flicks…Or a Legally Blonde Pretty Woman Dirty Danced on the Beaches While Writing a Notebook on the Titanic, Warwick Arts Centre.

Review by Annette Kinsella


What’s the collective noun for chick flicks? A razzle-dazzle of chick flicks? A powderpuff of chick flicks? A glitter of chick flicks? Whatever it is, that’s the subject of the show by KK Apple and Kerry Ipema, at Warwick Arts Centre last weekend (25-26 May). 


The snappily-titled Six Chick Flicks…Or a Legally Blonde Pretty Woman Dirty Danced on the Beaches While Writing a Notebook on the Titanic offers up a whistlestop tour of six stone cold romcom classics, starting with Titanic and ending with arguably the greatest of them all, Dirty Dancing.


 The show is undeniably hilarious, with Apple and Ipema perfectly mimicking some of the most memorable movie moments of all time, including Julia Roberts’ kiss-off to the snooty sales assistants on Rodeo Drive from Pretty Woman (‘Big mistake! Huge!'), Barbara Hershey’s tragic fadeaway in Beaches and Jack and Rose’s perilous escape from the Titanic via the floating door lifeboat which perplexingly fails as a dual floatation device. 


Through this lens, they reveal The Rose Effect, named after Kare Winslett’s character in Titanic, in which the female lead only realises her worth through the gaze of her male co-star. Now I know to look for it. It’s blindingly obvious and I don’t think I’ll ever watch a film again without this in mind.


Underneath the tropes and the stereotypes is a really interesting message: what do chick flicks teach us of the world? Other than being rich and white is a surefire way to nab the man of your dreams, there are some fascinating life rules to be absorbed. Firstly, women rely on the good grace of men to save them.  This applies whether you are a hooker on Sunset Strip, escaping a sinking ocean liner, or, er, in a dementia home. Secondly, poor people in films usually exist to provide a sexual awakening to a rich white character (Titanic, The Notebook, Dirty Dancing).  And thirdly, if you are on a sinking ocean liner, have the good sense to bob up near a huge floating door!


Apple and Ipema dissect these rules with panache, poking fun but always with the love of true movie buffs. However, they are at their most powerfully potent in their examination of Dirty Dancing. Their potted recap expertly illustrates how Dirty Dancing bucks the chick flick trend, showing us the bemuscled yet twinkle-toed Patrick Swayze through the eyes of naïve teenage tree-hugger Baby.


They are equally proficient when they step away from the comedy to discuss the implications of the overturn of Roe v Wade in America in 2022, pointing out that Dirty Dancer Penny, who almost lost her life because of a backstreet abortion in the 60s-set movie, would today find herself in the same terrifying situation in 14 states with no right to choose.


On a lighter note, a huge hats off to the pair for enacting That Lift through sleight of hand and trickery – no spoilers for those who have yet to see it but you won't be disappointed.


Overall this love letter to chick flicks is a riotous rollercoaster through the highs and lows of the romcom genre, but leaves the audience with more food for thought than just snarky plot recaps. If you get the chance, book it.


See more at Warwick Arts Centre: https://www.warwickartscentre.co.uk/

 

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