Babes With Blades

After breaking for the holidays, those fightin’ Footsteps females are back in fine, feisty form for the runaway hit Babes With Blades. KO’ing the popular conception of chick fighting as Jello wrestling and hair pulling (though many scenes parody those cliches), this showcase offers silent-movie slapstick, duels for the family honor, trashy B-picture homages (the women’s-prison scrap and the strippers’ squabble), and pop-icon spoofs (two actresses auditioning for the role of Xena’s sidekick). More educational are the forms based on martial exercises (the slow-motion Filipino kata and the robust Brazilian makulele) and the story of a mythic warrior-goddess. Some of the material is new, some is repeated from the 1997 production, but the lineup changes constantly: new fights will be added later in anticipation of the show’s journey to the celebrated Edinburgh Festival Fringe this summer. Move over, Braveheart! These Chicago babes kick ass! Footsteps Theatre Company, 5230 N. Clark (second floor), 773-878-4840. Through March 23: Sundays-Mondays, 8 PM; Saturday, January 24 and 31 and February 7, 14, and 21, 8 PM; Thursday, March 5, 12, and 19, 8 PM. $10.

–Mary Shen Barnidge

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited theater still.