As part of Wonder Women Mcr 2017, Girl Gang Manchester hosted their second immersive film screening on Saturday 11th March. Female-fronted comedy Bridesmaids was an excellent choice for the event, given its popularity, its credentials and the option of having an over arching wedding theme.
53two is an atmospheric venue tucked away beneath the brick arches of Deansgate, but luckily Girl Gang Manchester had put out plenty of signs to help “guests of Helen Harris III” find the location. Being greeted in character with a glass of pink lemonade – just as Annie is in the film – was just one of the little touches that signified a Girl Gang event.
Beautiful handmade decorations transformed the uplit railways arches into Lilian’s Parisian bridal shower – from the pom poms and giant paper flowers, to a huge “Doug and Lilian” cookie and an impressive white Eiffel Tower centrepiece entwined with fairy lights, which got decorated with vows of self love written on wooden padlocks as the night went on.
I was a bit disappointed at the lack of maker stalls at the event, particularly in comparison to the vast amount of handmade Mean Girls-inspired items on sale last year, but it arguably wouldn’t have been a good fit for the fancy bridal shower theme. I’d also been looking forward to decorating baked goods at the “Cake Baby” stall, but as it seemed to just be offering cake tasting plates I moved on.
After a stop at the bar for some prosecco, my friend and I had a peek at the guest book to read some truly hilarious wedding horror stories, and got our photo taken at the dress up photo booth with props and quote bubbles.
Next I had a manicure from the lovely Hannah Leach, who adorned my nails with a beautiful hot pink stencilled flower pattern in return for a small charity donation, while we chatted about the film and what it had done for feminism.
My friend and I had signed up on the door for “My eggs are wet,” an improvised comedy workshop, which took place in a separate theatre space. Inspired by the improvised nature of many of Bridesmaids’ scenes, we were taken through several exercises and games by Vicki Mitchinson from Manchester’s ComedySportz – all designed to encourage quick, creative thinking and create funny scenes. It was amazing to see people gradually grow in confidence in just one hour and really engage with something new and potentially quite scary.
Other workshops on offer included fostering positive female friendships, boosting self esteem and fascinator making (a particularly crowded but very fetching table).
Armed with popcorn and macarons, we finally took our seats for the film screening. Dr Kirsty Fairclough’s gave an interesting academic introduction, after which members of Pull Your Finger Out Productions popped up to perform Maids of Dishonour. This mash up of Bridesmaids dialogue and audience interaction warmed everyone up for the film, and like the introduction, was just the right length.
Although there was less interaction with the film than with Mean Girls – which is far more packed with quotable lines – for the final wedding scene we all threw confetti and then got up to join in a pre-taught Wilson Phillips dance routine.
Like Mean Girls, this was an impressively organised event in a beautifully decorated venue, replete with details that paid homage to the film – right down to the pink goodie boxes containing bubbles, sugared almonds, mixed CDs…. But sadly no labarador puppies in berets.