In The Spotlight

Spank! Gets Audiences All Riled Up (No Bondage Necessary)

Posted by tbaker |

SpankdWin Two Tickets to see Spank! June 29 at 8 p.m. at the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville by sending the name of your favorite guilty pleasure novel or movie, name and contact information to editorfreekly@gmail.com or texting 479-387-8794. Winners announced June 24.

By Terrah Baker

When 50 Shades of Grey hit bookshelves in 2011 it was an instant hit, selling over 70 million copies worldwide within the first two years. One lead actor in the upcoming satirical performance Spank!, which will be at the Walton Arts Center on June 29, said he thinks it’s become the secret, guilty pleasure of women and men — mostly women — around the world.

“When you see giant groups of people coming out of [Spank!] that are fans of [Fifty Shades of Grey] you realize that’s a lot of people to be into something that’s so taboo,” said Gabe Bowling who plays Hugh Hanson — the Christian Grey-like character. “Or at least was considered taboo before the book came out.”

The play is a parody of the famous novel — now a trilogy with Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed published in 2012 — and offers audiences a humorous look at the edgy and “sexy” culture the book delves into.

For those who haven’t heard about the phenomenon, the story centers around a young, virgin, college graduate who falls in love with a high-class, good-looking business man (Grey) who just happens to be into bondage and S and M. Contracts that define their relationship ensue and so does their ever-darkening sex life. The story was ripe with satire, and original writer Jim Millan who’s written for Larry King Standing Up, Cheech and Chong and Kids in the Hall was well qualified to take advantage of that.

The scene of Spank! is set with writer E.B. Janet going on a get-away weekend to work on her current project — a racy fantasy novel. E.B.’s imagination brings to life the characters of the book, which interact with her and the audience. Leading man, Hanson tries to entice the leading woman of Janet’s novel Tasha with raunchy serenades, saucy dialogue and an invitation to his red room of pain. All the while, the characters of the parody are poking fun at themselves, causing the audience to “laugh-out-loud” (Chicago Reader).

Since its stage debut in October 2012, Spank! has had tour dates in over 70 cities across the United States and Canada. A preview of the “hilarious satire of practically every trope in popular culture,” can be viewed at http://vimeo.com/52408645 (Chicago Public Radio).

Spank! is not associated with, nor authorized by, author E.L. James or Vintage Press. For more information about this performance contact the Walton Arts Center Box Office by calling 479.443.5600 or by visiting waltonartscenter.org. For more information on Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody, visit www.spankshow.com.

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