Kory’s Review: Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody @ PlayhouseSquare

Kory is a member of the Cleveland Critics Circle and reviews theatre for CBS Radio - Cleveland.

Things just got naughty in the sexy and hilarious new show at PlayhouseSquare’s Hanna Theater.


Image courtesy of PlayhouseSquare

Image courtesy of PlayhouseSquare


The buzz about the Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody reached me long before my invitation to the show. The production had a buzz not unlike the books on which it is (unofficially) based. As I arrived at the theatre on Thursday night I was not the least bit shocked at the crowd. Young women, gay men, and straight men that seemed very uncomfortable. In fact, even the red coat who took us to our seats said to me, and I quote, “If you get tired of this show by intermission, we’re playing pool out back…hyuck hyuck.” I might have given him a dirty look, ok, I totally did. Who is he to assume that I am not going to enjoy a show about a male sex addict and his latest conquest? Exactly!


Pulsing Top 40 music filled the air, the show was pushed back ten minutes to accommodate the audiences desire for liquor. I felt like I was doing something untoward, and I was completely stoked about it! The show started just as I took my seat in the historic Hanna Theater. Immediately I was thinking, “Oh No…I’m about to see a naked man.” Short of some well fitting adult underoos, that is just what I got. Oh yeah, and there is a story, sort of. A middle aged house wife, played by Suzanne Sole, decides to write a sexy novel in a weekend home alone. She crafts a main character named Tasha Woode (Alice Moran) and a domineering, sexy, powerful, sexy, rich, sexy, arrogant, sexy, controlling and did I mention sexy lead character named Hugh Hanson played by Gabe Bowling (Million Dollar Quartet).


The show is loaded with comedy, it is after all a parody, and the humor had me crying all the way through act one. By act two, however, I tired of it and wanted the story to progress. It did, but the problem is, there isn’t much of a story. Especially not enough to fill two and half hours. If this show wasn’t dripping (see what I did there?) with sexuality and crude humor, it would be a total bust. The cast is strong, the music (including several classic songs) is well picked and re-written and the show, overall, is a delight!


The straight guys in the audience were even caught laughing. Especially when Moran came into the crowd to heckle a man for texting in the front row! I don’t know if he was actually breaking the #1 rule of theatre etiquette, but it was well written and really broke down the fourth wall and brought the audience into the show.


If you like hot men, crude sexual humor, hilarious dialogue and an adult beverage or three, then you will love Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody, playing now through January 27th at PlayhouseSquare.


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