50 Shades! The Musical. The Original Parody

50 Shades! The Musical. The Original Parody

by Katharine Fry

My only foray into the 50 Shades franchise o’kink has been in the form of a critical ‘read-along’ with The Pervocracy blog and a former lover singing me the best worst bits to the tune of Christmas carols. The Assembly Main Hall, however, seemed packed with people who were very familiar with the source text and keen to laugh not only at it, but at themselves for revelling in this most guilty of pleasures. It was all there for them, the virgin Anastasia Steele, the horny roommate, the over-the-top would-be Latin lover and one overweight Asian Christian Grey.

The cast performed original songs with great technical ability and joyful gusto – a particularly memorable moment saw Anastasia strewn with white satin ribbons in a beautifully choreographed cum shot – but the show feels on the whole a rather unsexy affair. 50 Shades sets up the ‘mummy porn’ movement, with an onstage housewife book club linking the scenes and going on sexual voyages of their own, while taking a swing at several musical forms and the great musical bastion Les Mis but never quite fizzes itself. Though the Edinburgh rendition will be a truncated form of the show that has been a U.S. hit, I wonder if anything built on such limp source material can really beat itself into robust shape.


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