Berry and Mahy set to be SPANKED in Brisbane!

CONFIRMED: SPANK! the Fifty Shades of Grey musical parody opens this month in Brisbane starring Stephen Mahy and Caitlin Berry.

Caitlin Berry and Stephen Mahy will star in SPANK!
Caitlin Berry and Stephen Mahy will star in SPANK!

You’ve heard of Fifty Shades of Grey, haven’t you? You know, the erotic fiction novel that sold 65 million copies and took the female world by storm?

Admit it – if you haven’t read it (you have though, haven’t you?) you’ve heard someone talking about it/seen someone engrossed in it on the bus/laughed at all of the spin offs that have cropped up over the last year – paperbacks like Fifty Sheds of Grey, Fifty Shames of Earl Grey, Fifty Shades of Grey and Zombies and Fifty Shades of Mr Darcy … 

And you’ve loved it a little, haven’t you?

Well, get ready to love it a little more, as the Australian premiere of SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody opens in Brisbane this month starring Stephen Mahy (Jersey Boys, I Will Survive) and Caitlin Berry (South Pacific, Dr. Zhivago). 

Based on the acclaimed US production, SPANK! will open on March 14 at Twelfth Night Theatre, brining all the naughty fun of the notorious best-selling book to life.

“There is a lot of laughter in the rehearsal room,” enthused WAAPA graduate and star of the show, Caitlin Berry.

Fresh from the recent Brisbane season of South Pacific, Berry will take to the QLD stage as the young and naïve student seduced by the sophisticated and erotic protagonist (performed by Mahy), and her inner goddess has been giggling all the way to and from rehearsals for this production.

While bearing some resemblance to the acclaimed US production, the show’s director has not made the Australian production a carbon copy and Berry is enjoying the challenge of bringing this now iconic character to life in her own way.

“Is it challenging – this parody comedy. It’s all about understanding improvisation and thinking on my feet. I interact with audience a lot, and that heightened comedy only works with full commitment,” she said.

“It’s not exactly the same as the American show – we cater to the city in which we are playing, so there are some Australian references to make the comedy work.”

Berry says rehearsing with co-stars Stephen Mahy and Rebecca De Unamuno has been a wonderful experience, singing their praises loudly during our interview.

“Stephen is very lovely and very playful and it’s actually quite funny, because his personality is so different to the character he is playing. And Rebecca is an accomplished impro artist – she is really great on her feet and she’s hysterical to work with.”

[pull_left]I think you can see the show and enjoy it if you haven’t read the book. A parody of a fun sexy story is great anyway[/pull_left]With musical numbers (complete with altered lyrics) from an eclectic range of sources – G&S to Enrique Iglesias, Kander and Ebb to Sondheim – the two act show is narrated by De Unamuno’s character E.B James (Easy Breezy James) and teases out the fun parts found in E.L. James’ original novel.

“It allows the audience to laugh at the absurdity of the book, but to still enjoy the story and relive the experience they had when they read it,” Berry explained.

Berry says that while a good understanding of the novel will help with the jokes, audience members need not have read the book to enjoy the show.

“I think you can see the show and enjoy it if you haven’t read the book. A parody of a fun sexy story is great anyway!”

Having read the novel herself – initially for research purposes – Berry conceded to being swept up in the story.

“When I was auditioning for the show, I had to read the book to make sense of the material, but before I found out I got the part, I had finished the book, because I got so caught up in it!” she said.

SPANK!’s producer Adrian Bohm has not announced any further touring dates at this point, but if the Brisbane season is a success, there is little doubt the show will be heading across the country. So Brisbane, head on down and take a peek at this hilarious new parody whether you’ve read the book or not … Your inner goddess will thank you for it!

To purchase tickets to SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody, please visit Ticketmaster online  or call Twelfth Night Theatre on 3252 5122.

Visit visit the official production website for more details

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Erin James is AussieTheatre.com's Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

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