The buzz of anticipation and excitement was palpable walking into the Alex Theatre; surprisingly so for a Saturday afternoon, and the tagline ‘How Much Fun Can You Take?’ written on my ticket, seemed to be the question swirling through everyone’s minds … we were about to find out.
50 Shades! The Musical Parody kicked off to a rocky start with some technical difficulties which caused a show stop early on and a significant delay, however the cast members handled it with ease and professionalism. Pam (Bianca Bruce), Bev (Hannah Kee) and Carol (Belinda Jenkin), returned to the stage with confidence and a cheeky dynamic that flowed through the entirety of the show. These three provided a home base for the audience with their book club, giving the narrative a sense of purpose and direction. We followed Pam, Bev and Carol’s journey as they read through EL James’ 50 Shades of Grey, and as the scenes of the book unfolded from page to stage, they too hilariously discovered their inner goddesses.
This show had me laughing out loud from the get go, and definitely delves into the dirty contents of 50 Shades unapologetically. Kala Gare leads the cast perfectly as Anastasia Steele, her comedic brilliance only surpassed by her vocal prowess; a consummate performer. A highlight was the dynamic between characters Anastasia Steele and her persistent suitor Jose (Luke Wilson). Wilson’s commitment and comedic abilities truly shone in the ensemble, however Dan Ham, Elise Mulie and Ossie Mclean also provided flirty and hilarious moments, and were a strong ensemble for this relatively small cast.
James Elmer showcased his true chameleon nature in this show in the role of Christian Grey, with moments of brooding dialogue wearing a tailored grey suit, followed immediately by a musical number wearing … well not much. Elmer’s singing, dancing and acting abilities were impressive as was his comedic commitment.
The set was relatively bare but the performers made up for it by filling the stage with sensual energy, and the lighting design was by the majority of the time very effective. The show has some well written and catchy songs so could quite easily be enjoyed even if it was a mediocre production, but I was impressed by this particular production as for a show that is innately not very subtle … there were clever moments of subtlety in staging and choreography.
If you have never read the books or seen the films, it would not matter, as 50 Shades! The Musical Parody spells it all out for you in a fun, heart racing and impressive night of comedy. I had not seen or read 50 Shades of Grey, and the parody still had me in fits of laughter from start to finish.
Hilariously filthy, leave the kids at home and go experience this show before it’s gone!
Playing at the Alex Theatre in Melbourne as part of the Comedy Festival until April 14th.
For more information and tickets: https://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=50SHADES19&v=LXT
Review by Indigo Hunt