As the spectators and myself make our way into the venue, we are received by the film’s main character, Baby Jane Hudson (played by Bette Davis). Music from the 50s plays in the background while everybody gets drinks and patiently waits for the curtains to go up. Inside are four big tables in the centre, and extra seats scattered around the room, all with a pair of scissors and a mask with Baby Jane’s face on one side and her sister Blanche on the other. We must choose whose side we’re on.
Everybody seems confused and excited. Then there’s a voice, Holestar’s; a drag goddess walking around as Blanche. She asks the audience if they are ready to begin and we all respond enthusiastically; everybody is on the same page now. The show begins with a performance by Princess Knickers as Baby Jane Hudson. She sings, I’ve Written a Letter to Daddy, the film’s most representative number and one that the audience seems to know by heart. Princess mouths the words to the song, originally performed by Bette Davis, with dexterity.
Everybody seems confused and excited. Then there’s a voice…
The film begins and the atmosphere is not that of a cinema but rather of a gathering one would have in order to laugh at a trashy film. The point of it, it seems, is to relive the film’s most daring moments; to transform a cult film into popular culture gags. The audience make the film their own by appropriating every line and every gesture, making Amy Grimehouse a reminiscing session full of witty repartee.
For their next event they will be screening Welcome to the Dollhouse, another cult favourite that includes a performance by Debbie Gibson that will surely be re-enacted somehow. All this and more on the 15 June at The Book Club, 100 Leonard St, Shoreditch.
Image courtesy of Aurora