SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody

SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody

AB Presents

Twelfth Night Theatre

15th – 24th March 2013


Reviewed by Xanthe Coward


SPANK! The Fifty Shade Parody

Well, look, it’s no use telling you that SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody is not my cup of tea. I suspect I would have enjoyed it (or forgiven it) a whole lot more after several cups of something stronger. Perhaps not. It’s unauthorised, it’s unashamed, and it’s here for one more week, so if you usually enjoy Twelfth Night Theatre’s shows, here’s one more you can say you’ve seen.


The Australian premiere on Friday night of this brand spanking new comedy (sorry, couldn’t help it and now that I’ve indicated the level of wit in the show we need not mention it again) was one of the strangest opening nights I’ve attended in a long time. Twelfth Night Theatre in Bowen Hills is an older venue, and it looks the way it did in the 1960s, according to a woman at the bar who was there then too. I believe it. I’m also inclined to believe that there’s been nothing spent on its upkeep since and that makes me sad. Imagine how fine this theatre could be!


Stephen Mahey

Anyway, this terrific trend of taking drinks into the theatre means that the lines at the bar stretched back to the box office, and it seemed to take a good while to get everybody seated. For those of us waiting patiently, there was a lush red curtain, a trunk, a glass, a bottle of Chardy, and the matter of the recent lawsuit being settled to ponder. Behind us there was a great deal of excitement, and a great deal of shrill laughter before the show even started. I tweeted of the audience, “This is everybody who is not at Manpower.” Perhaps I should have followed the flock and bought another drink couple of drinks.


There had clearly been pre-pre-show drinks enjoyed elsewhere by many, an audience representing a surprisingly broad cross section of the population, though managing still to comprise mostly of cougars, and among them not one familiar face. Phew. It occurred to me again, as it does whenever I find myself at Twelfth Night Theatre, that The Rocky Horror Picture Show is not done nearly often enough. Now THAT’S the sort of non-sensical cultish smut we should be enjoying more of!


Caitlin Berry SPANK!

The material in this case is certainly on a par with Fifty Shades of Grey so if you hated the book, probs don’t go. If however, you loved the book, laughed about the book, or loved laughing about the book or its many parodies with friends, don’t miss this show. It just might be your perfect girls-night-out! Imagine! Oh, how I love my friends! It’s a parody – a total piss-take – so the script is rightly corny, and at times it’s actually very funny, even without being party to the in-jokes. See, without actually reading the book I had read enough, and heard enough about it to appreciate the content. What I appreciated much more than that though was the total commitment and truly awesome talent of performers, Rebecca de Unamuno (The Chasers’ War on Everything), Stephen Mahey (Jersey Boys, I Will Survive), and Caitlin Berry (South Pacific, Dr Zhivago). I’m not sure what the agents’ advice had been (“nice work if you can get it”?!), but I tell you what, if it were not for these two, Mahey and Berry, the show would have been absolutely agonising from start to finish, especially from our dead centre front row seats, which you wouldn’t want for a 3D movie, but if you enjoy being within spitting distance of the hot male lead, you’ll find a front row position very satisfying indeed. Oh, and on that, I’m very sorry blokes, but Berry leaves her clothes on, which leaves me baffled, because why, oh why, may we not also enjoy the flesh of the female? Is it seen as sexist now to watch a chick strip? I feel sure I’ve asked this question before. Double standards are not my forte. Somebody please enlighten me.


Mahey and Berry bring complete commitment to the storytelling task, and tongue-in-cheek (and unforgettable, best-of-show, toothbrush-in-cheek) overtones to the delivery style so you can’t help but enjoy yourself. As so many others and I maintain, as well as our substance we need our… sweets. Judging by the hecklers on opening night, some of us need our sweets more than others. And the script plays to that, with Berry approaching random audience members with a hand-held mic and asking deeply personal questions to which we would prefer not to hear answers. Just saying.


226798_124753407706007_621139686_nLook, you might as well go see SPANK! It runs until the 24th March in Brisbane and it will, undoubtedly, tour the country after that. It’s not high art but it’s a fun-filled night out and a sure-fire hit that will have the same result as the book has had…you won’t want to be left wondering what all the talk is about!



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