Sexy ‘Spank!’ to supply naughty fun

The ‘Fifty Shades’ musical parody will be in town.

Chances are you know someone who read British writer E.L. James’ 2011 erotic best-seller “Fifty Shades of Grey.” The popular, provocative novel was cleverly reimagined last year as a musical spoof, “Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody,” which will arrive at Dayton’s Victoria Theatre this week.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” was the first in a trilogy chronicling the relationship between college student Anastasia Steele and rich, hunky businessman Christian Grey. It grabbed the attention of female readers worldwide.

The two-act “Spank!” premieres locally Thursday and Friday as a special Star Attractions show courtesy of the Victoria Theatre Association.

“Spank!” has been billed as part Chippendales and part Second City. Directed by Jim Millan, creative director of the Kids in the Hall comedy troupe, the show features a three-member cast co-starring Amanda Barker as E.B. Janet, who narrates the action with computer keyboard in tow and also portrays multiple characters. Barker, a Toronto resident and Second City comedienne who wrote and starred in the acclaimed “Release the Stars: The Ballad of Randy and Evi Quaid,” says the script closely follows the novel, and in some instances, incorporates the dialogue verbatim. Audience participation is also encouraged as the core romance between naive 22-year-old Tasha Woode and handsome Hugh Hanson takes shape.

Gabe Bowling plays Hugh, while Alice Moran plays Tasha.

“We satirize some of the first and most iconic scenes of the book such as the interview scene and the coffee shop scene,” said Barker, speaking by phone from Boston. “The dramatic set-up of the show involves my character being home without my husband and kids, having a bottle of wine, and writing this fun novel and having a great time doing it. The characters are formed from my mind and are at my whim while I’m narrating and typing. Sometimes I’ll take audience suggestions, and the characters have to do whatever myself or the audience chooses. So, we have a lot of fun on that level.”

The “Spank!” tour debuted in January. Barker, who has read the trilogy, keeps a copy of one of the installments nearby as a motivating reference. A fan of the trilogy’s discreet covers (“they’re genius because they’re so simple, which leaves everything to the imagination”), she is very pleased the show doesn’t make anyone feel uncomfortable about the risque material.

“We try really hard to celebrate the book as much as send it up,” she said. “I think it was really important to us that we don’t make anyone feel bad about having read it or wanting to read it. We never make fun of the readership. There are women who have seen the show who have read the book and others who haven’t read it who are just there with their girlfriends to have a good time and watch a guy take his shirt off. We deliver on all levels.”

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