Long before she straddled a North Vietnamese gun battery, causing many a Middle American morning coffee to be spat out in disgust, Jane Fonda made a little film called Barbarella: a Flash Gordon-esque pulp filled to the brim with camp humour, gaudy sexuality and audacious, Italian production design. As a picture, it plays equal measures Russ Meyer and Edgar Rice Burroughs. With the broader gay community’s history of embracing feisty, buxom heroines, it’s little wonder that this cheeky sci-fi romp has subsequently been elevated to the status of queer classic. The film’s absorption into gay culture makes it a ripe target for a cabaret dissection – in this case at the merciless scalpel of San Francisco drag empress Peaches Christ. Peaches is currently touring her own darkly funny parody of the film. The show is both a loving homage and an evisceration, taking in a cast of San Fran sci-fi drag acts as well as local performers. For the Manchester date, she will be accompanied by Mancunian make-up artist and trans performer Grace Oni Smith. The show, taking place at Cornerhouse as part of a nationwide BFI sci-fi season Days of Fear and Wonder, will be followed by a screening of the original film. Audiences are also encouraged to dress up – only the glitteriest, most fetishised. retro-futurist spacesuits allowed – so perhaps they too can inspire some reactionary coffee-spitting incidents of their own.

Sat 11 Oct, Cornerhouse, 70 Oxford Street, M1 5NH, 8pm, £15 full / £12.50 conc, www.cornerhouse.org

Sat 11 Oct
Jon Whiteley
Published on:
Wed 8 Oct 2014