front of house

Inspiration came in the form of Buffy The Vampire Slayer for The

Chopper chicks

In a fearless search for the freakish, the outlandish and the fantastic, Front Of House has trawled the depths and scaled the heights of the Fringe programme. We found BABES WITH BLADES.

Words: Jonathan Trew

Front Of House found its eye inexplicably drawn to the Chicagoan Footsteps Theatre Company's production of Babes Wit/i Blades. According to the blurb, ’women kick butt in this collection of staged fights by an all- female cast using broadsword, rapiers, bullwhips, kali sticks and more'.

This description triggered happy reminiscences of teenage years spent listening to The Cramps sing 'Bikini Girls With Machine Guns' while ogling Videos like Bazooka Babes And Their AK47s. From memory this consisted of what were termed ’scantily clad desert vixens’ firing heavy weaponry at tin cans somewhere very hot. It was a bit like a Russ Meyer film but With less subtlety and more shooters. If yoii sent an extra £10 to the marl order suppliers they could apparently send out a different version of the moVIe that included mud wrestling bouts.

But I digress. Further research has revealed that Babes With Blades is far removed from the tawdry spectacles which so enlivened my adolescence'and delayed the loss of my Virginity for several years more than was strictly necessary. Oh no, Babes In Blades is no

tradition of women warriors, including Channel 5 herome Xena and Buffy The Vampire Slayer, the production is apparently an ’alI-female stage combat show. Through a series of scenes ranging from brutally realistic to lightly tongue in cheek, the relationship between women, weapons and Violence is explored, and the Amazon in every woman is celebrated.’

If you want your inner Amazon explored then Babes With Blades promises, and I guote, 'a tangle between two actresses at a Xena c'aII-baclc', 'a steamy battle for domination between two lovers' and (here's my favourite) 'a brawl in a women's prison that turns ugly’

So touched w is the Gay Chicago Magazme that it pronounced that there was 'an irresistiny infectious aura of Joy, liberation and down-and-drrty physical fun Surrounding the production (which) prowdes a giddy mental and spiritual release and makes for a bloody good night at the fights'.

The Babes‘ mission statement (such a document does exist) explains that Chicago is a great fight town and yet laments 'why, in this town of all places, can't women fighters get work?‘ Why indeed7 Front Of House is certainly not going to argue Willi a band of women trained in the use of assorted slicing, stabbing and bludgeoning instruments. In fact, we didn't even dare enquire ab0ut the possibility of them Including a mud wrestling scene in their set

Babes With Blades (Fringe) Footsteps Theatre Company, The Roman Eagle Lodge (Venue 21)

Babes With Blades catfight Drawrng its inspiration from a long

Gossip Nudfly

Front Of House was deeply shocked to learn that the Festival Fringe Society had refused to print this photograph in an advert which was to appear in the Fringe programme. While quick to point out that the Fringe organisation never censors any of the shows which appear on the Fringe, a spokesman said that they felt obliged to pull this photo on legal advice. Apparently, with a print run of 300,000, the chances of the Fringe programme falling into impressionable young hands is high enough to merit discretion.

While applauding the Fringe Society's concern, we at Front Of House felt obliged to print this photo in the interests of both

30T||E U81 9-23 Jul 1998

press freedom and lasciviousness. Further still, we applaud the sacrifices which these young people are prepared to put themselves through for

their art; photoshoots can be so arduous.

Ironically, the image is used to promote Hair, the musical which celebrated the dawning of the age of Aquarius and all the freedoms which this supposedly implied. Nena Productions' version of the show plays until 30 Aug at Hill Street Theatre.

Mr T's Lemons

Loren .l. Rubin (right) is a man who would appreciate the swings and roundabouts of good and bad luck. Over in his native States he had the fortune or, as some would have it, the misfortune to get a bit part in the Pamela Anderson vehicle Barbed Wire. In a scene which never made it to the final edit, Rubin is accidentally whacked about the bonce with a pistol by the hapless

Pammy. This particulary dark and painful cloud has its silver lining in the form of the cheque which arrives every time the clip is screened on an American equivalent of Auntie's Bloomers.

Rubin has also starred alongside another late 20th century icon in the form of the A Team’s Mr T. The gold-clad Mr T, a man famous for wearing combat trousers on Civvy Street long before they became fashionable, was appearing on a programme called America’s Toughest Headcase, or something similar. Rubin's role in the flick is unclear but during the course of filming, Mr T confided the secret of his success. 'Lemon juice. Tastes bad. Makes you mean,’ he gushed.

Rubin seems to have become a little confused

622 7207, until 31 Aug, 5.45pm, £5 (£4).

about the advice and appears to have taken to sucking on dolls rather than citrus fruits. You can judge the effect of this for yourselves as Rubin stars as the underground man in The Hole, a play inspired by Dostoevsky's Notes From The Underground. Rubin is in action most nights at the Roman Eagle Lodge.