Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Fifty Shades! The Musical at the Elektra Theatre

L-R: Kaitlyn Frotton, Amber Petty, Chloe Williamson, and Ashley Ward in FIFTY SHADES! THE MUSICAL.  Photo by Carol Rosegg.
Following successful runs in Edinburgh, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, 50 Shades! The Musical, an hilariously funny, over-the-top, parody of Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, has returned to the Elektra Theatre on West 43rd Street in midtown Manhattan.  Billed as “The Original Parody of the Greatest Novel Ever Written,” 50 Shades! The Musical may not be good, clean fun – but it certainly is great fun of a more earthy sort.  By all means, don’t take the kids (ask your more prudish friends if they wouldn’t mind baby-sitting them for you) but you go out and pleasure yourself by attending a performance of this wildly entertaining musical sex-travaganza.

Anastasia Steele (Amber Petty), is a young, wholesome virgin, anxious to please, but with a deep feeling of emptiness in her life, which she cleverly expresses in her terrific double entendre rendition of “There’s a Hole Inside of Me.”  And, in a way, that says it all.  When she meets Christian Grey (Chris Grace), a billionaire businessman and kinky sexual predator who never met an orifice he didn’t like, how could she help but fall in love with him?  Cast against type, Christian has the body type of a scaled down sumo wrestler and the rubbery face of a clown – not every woman’s fantasy come true, to be sure, but he is just what Anastasia’s has been yearning for – and that makes for some rollickingly entertaining scenes.

The play really belongs to Amber Petty and Chris Grace.  She is not only a delightfully attractive and talented actress but she can belt out a song with the best of them.  He is a consummate physical comedian, whose agility, body language and facial expressions continually surprise.  Together, they are a matchless duo, but they are also fortunate in being surrounded by a wonderful supporting cast.  I was particularly taken with Tim Murray in the role of Jose, the Mexican youth smitten by Anastasia, and by Kaitlyn Frotton, Chloe Williamson and Ashley Ward, as three sexually frustrated book club members who get the whole show underway by selecting Fifty Shades of Grey as their next book to read in the first place.

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