Based on the book Fifty Shades of Grey, Spank! takes a whimsical look at bondage and S&M and comes up with the crazy realization that human sexuality, when you think about it, is ridiculous.
Starring Amanda Barker, accompanied by Alice Moran and Patrick Whalen, this enjoyable parody of Fifty Shades of Grey lit up the Centaur theatre on its opening night at Just For Laughs. The book set middle-aged women on fire all over the country last summer. This summer the book is twisted just enough to explain why whips and chains excite some, while romance excites others.
Amanda Barker plays E.B. Janet, the dirty minded author who likes to drink white wine in the afternoon while writing steamy erotic novels while her husband is at work. She creates a young virgin character played by Alice, who, like in the book, will be our guide through sexual escapades with her new found “love” Hugh. Unfortunately for her, Hugh is more interested in bondage then love.
Janet invites us into her novel-writing process…which involves either creating hot subliminal message-filled encounters in hardware stores or an invitation to Hugh’s secret “red room” that make for some amusing pun heavy conversations that will make you smirk, and perhaps, shutter in your seat.
E.B. Janet often breaks the fourth wall with the audience as she looks for help in writing this “masterpiece” of erotic fiction, which makes the play a little more interactive than the other shows at this years Just For Laughs. Even if you’ve never read the book you can still get by with the performances given in this comedy driven play.
Before departing for the show I screened an arsenal of videos on YouTube of the show from Chicago and I would have to say the Montreal cast I watched was far better. While the show didn’t get a great review from Pat Donnelly of the Gazette, I quite enjoyed it. While at times a little sophomoric, the show is very aware that the humour lies in its erotic content.
On a separate note Spank! changed my previous opinion that the Centaur is a stuffy old English theatre filled with old people, that really doesn’t take risks anymore with their productions. Downstairs there was a booth with a table displaying vibrating lipstick, whips and cuffs! I hoped no one in attendance recognized me or saw me buying anything. I might just give this whole domination thing a chance.
Spank! will be playing three more shows:
Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Centaur. Tickets are available here.