Spank! sizzles with stylishly sexy silliness at Mill City Nights. The traveling hit stage parody of the ‘sex’-sational bestseller, Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, is drawing big crowds to its short run in Minneapolis’s Warehouse District. Subtitled The Fifty Shades Parody, it is not associated with the author or Vintage Press. The fabulously funny Amanda Barker is a daffy but intentional E. B. Janet. When she finally has a free weekend just to herself she does what any adventurous wife would do: drink wine and write an erotic novel! As E.B. pounds on her laptop and speaks out loud the images, descriptions, and actions of her characters they vibrantly come alive on stage.
Kira McCarthy sparkles as the empty-headed Tasha Woode, the college student who channels E. B.’s submissive sex fantasies. When fate places Hugh Hanson, a billionaire with exquisite taste, on her path it’s made very clear that he may be ‘gay’ for the finer things in life but he is definitely not gay for ‘man butt’! As portrayed by the dazzling Patrick Whalen, Hanson is the consummate metrosexual heterosexual who needs to control women and flesh out fantasies with them. When he too conveniently happens upon her in the hardware store where she works, he takes the opportunity to pick up rope and duct tape, which naive Tasha takes at face value, which makes for hilarious comedy. Whalen and Woode play off each other brilliantly with vividly crisp and kinetic movement and much body-to-body interaction. He’s a cartoon-like Adonis who intrudes into Tasha’s private space. The pair have splendid chemistry and reel in literal waves of naughty laughs. The mouthwash bit is especially interesting….
Director and Head Writer Jim Millan has had all three craft some striking, and obviously, sexy stage images with their bodies. Classic musicals like Cabaret, not surprisingly, and The Sound of Music, heretically, are spoofed. Whalen, who has an impressive background in jazz, has a wonderful voice that is especially well used in what sounded to me like a take-off on pop tunes of the late 20th century. The show drips with juicy one-liners and lyrics: ‘I could paddle you forever.’ ‘Can I have a non-nipple-clamped conversation?’ And the best email address ever: saddlepony_69. Spank! is a joyous romp that will loosen you up and remind you that if you can’t laugh about sex sometimes, maybe you’ve got a problem. Sometimes transgression is the best medicine.
Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody
Through Sept. 28
Mill City Nights, 111 Fifth St. N., Mpls.
(612) 333-3422 x 10