Fifty Shades of Grey is an erotic romance novel of 2011 by British author E L James, of a relationship between Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. Theirs is not a romance for the tame with Christian's sexual practices involving BDSM; a world college graduate and virgin Anastasia knew nothing about. The 2nd and 3rd volumes of the trilogy followed fast in 2012 and the rest is history; topping best-seller lists around the world, and later being made into a movie starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson in the lead roles.
Now, you have 50 Shades! The Musical Parody on stage at The Alex Theatre, 135 Fitzroy St, St Kilda until Sunday 7 April 2019. It was only a matter of time! It's strictly for the 18 years and over age group, with 90 minute shows running from Wed-Sun (Wed-Fri 7.30pm; Sat 2, 5, & 8pm & Sun 2 & 5pm. Last Sun 7 Apr, 1 show only at 2pm) over the next 2 weeks of a limited season, so don't miss it! Get your ticketsHERE.
Carol (Belinda Jenkin), Pam (Bianca Bruce) & Bev (Hannah Kee)
If you've never read the book or seen the movie, it matters not. Following sold out shows across the world including New York and Las Vegas, this clever, funny, lewd, raunchy and risqué send-up will bring you up to speed. It features 12 original songs including There's A Hole Inside of Me sung by lead actress Kala Gare as Anastasia. Originally produced in New York, the book is by a collective of comedy writers Albert Samuels, Amanda B Davis, Emily Dorezas, Joseph Shelton, Ashley Ward, and Dan Wessels who also wrote the music and lyrics.
The cast consists of Kala Gare, James Elmer, Bianca Bruce, Belinda Jenkin, Hannah Kee, Luke Wilson, Elise Muley, Dan Ham and Ossie MLean.
Anastasia (Kala Gare) & Christian (James Elmer) flanked by Ossie McLean & Elliot (Dan Ham) (male ensemble)
The stage is spacious and sparse with just a few industrial props to support the show. The sound and lighting was near on perfect on opening night except for a couple of minutes when there was a sound malfunction, (pops of static noise) cleverly passed off as raccoons in the roof by lead actor James Elmer. It brought comic relief to the audience.
The girls from the book club (Pam, Bev and Carol) devour the novel, and their imaginations unleash the characters and brings them to life around them. You have wide eyed Anastasia and 'don't touch me' Christian, along with Jose (Luke Wilson) who is out to bed Anastasia, and her housemate Katherine (who is also the female ensemble). Add two half naked, sexy, male ensembles (Dan Ham also plays Christian's brother Elliot) and you have a stage full of talent that'll have you fully engaged and rolling with laughter in the aisles. It was a good audience on the night, giving full kudos to the obvious talent on stage.
Anastasia with Katherine (Elise Muley - female ensemble) & Ossie
Jose's ardour for Anastasia to see him as more than a friend is excellently executed by actor Luke Wilson. He will tug hard at your funny bone with his purposely over the top portrayal. You can't help but feel affection for his character as he strips down to the bare minimum with hilarious results, as the show goes on.
Bianca Bruce (Pam) from the book club is astounding and outstanding with her vocals which were strong, melodic and had a certain je ne sais quoi that just grabbed your attention. The other two ladies in the book club also had powerful vocals, with timid and mousy Carol belting it out with the confidence her stage character did not possess. First prize for strength and endurance has to go to Christian's brother Elliot as he puts in a good hard effort with sexy housemate Katherine.
Christian and Anastasia's vocal talent do not disappoint; both different but equally strong. Kala Gare is very expressive and plays the role of innocent girl gone corrupt beautifully. Christian is smooth as you'd expect, and makes his phobia about being touched quite apparent. However, for me, the odd ones stand out with their strong stage presence. Jose the passionate who never gives up, and Carol from the book club does timid and lacking confidence perfectly well.
This show was a big thumbs up for me, with it being equal parts sassy, smart, funny, raunchy and hugely entertaining. There are no dull or empty spaces to fill and the cast oozes talent. Don't miss this new production enjoying its Australian professional premiere right here in Melbourne. Search out this guilty pleasure that has a strictly limited season. It's a good one for a hilarious night out with friends, that features uninhibited dance numbers and songs with cleverly orchestrated double-entendres and spicy ambiguities you need to pay attention to for the full experience. Get your tickets now!