Submitting to ‘SPANK!’ at the Royal George

The parody of E.L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey stimulates plenty of positive reciprocation from the audience

A scene from ‘SPANK!’

At the drink counter, a sign lists the featured cocktails: the Inner Goddess and the Tied Up and Twisted. Down the hall, three women crowd around a poster for the show and ask someone to take their picture. Inside the theater, the pre-show playlist is heavy on Katy Perry and Rihanna. And when the lights dim, a fog machine kicks on as a suit-wearing, Neil Patrick Harris-channeling performer begins his striptease to “Tainted Love.” But this isn’t Vegas—it’s the Royal George Theater. And those women in the fifth row wearing black sequins and leopard print? They’re here for SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody.

An extended sketch-like comedy based on the BDSM fantasy novel, SPANK! follows the irreverent thoughts of middle-aged housewife E.B. Janet (played with sass by Amanda Barker) as she taps at a keyboard and churns out an erotic novel one weekend while her husband and kids are away. The show is a cheesefest—and knows it—but the audience at Friday night’s performance, a few older couples included, had a great time. Of course, the alcohol might have helped.

Overheard at SPANK!:

Unwilling significant other, in line for drinks: “She didn’t ask me. She was just like, we’re going to this thing on Friday.”

Group of women, during the show, while fist-pumping: “Cougars RULE!”

A woman on her way out of the theater: “I read it for work, of course.”

 

Photograph: The Silverman Group

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