I am sure you are familiar with the book called 50 Shades of Grey, but if not, what rock have you been living under?
The 50 Shades franchise are erotic romance novels, which have revolutionized the types of books that women feel comfortable reading. When the first book in the series was released, over 125 million copies were sold worldwide – becoming the first erotic novel to be openly and proudly read among women everywhere. The book itself received mixed reviews, and it was made into a film that was laughably bad – but 50 Shades! The Parody is a whole different story.
At the Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, there is a theatre space called the Windows Showroom – and this beautiful space is where 50 Shades! The Parody resides. You may be expecting an awkward pornographic show, depicting all of the graphic sex scenes in the novel for the viewer to see in real life, but that film, starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dorman, has already been made. This show is something entirely different. It is an aptly titled musical, that takes as many of the terrible metaphors, descriptions, and tropes from the novel as it possibly could, (there is only so much you can fit into a 75 minute show), and it turns them in to comedic gold.
The show starts every night at 9:30pm. To get to the Windows Showroom, you go through the Bally’s Casino. I recommend you show up a couple hours earlier, so that you will have plenty of time to explore the Casino. Once you go through the Casino, go up the escalators to the right of Nosh Café, and you will have arrived at your destination.
As you are not allowed to bring any outside drinks into the theatre, I suggest you get to the Windows Showroom around 9pm. When you get to the line for the performance, there is a bar with a very witty and friendly bartender, who makes the wait for the show extremely enjoyable, and is able to provide you with any drink of your choosing for a very reasonable price. Not only is there a bartender, but there is also a waitress who walks around the audience before, during, and after the show, and she will take your drinks order from you if you are unable or unwilling to go up to the bar.
The Windows Showroom is a truly stunning space, with plenty of room for the performance to take place. Chandeliers adorn the room, giving the atmosphere an ironically classy and chic feel. Before the show beings, the lighting on the stage is a soft purple, creating a sensual and seductive environment. For the audience seating area, there are five rows of seats in three sections, and the stage is on a raised platform, so that no matter where you sit in the audience, you will be able to see the entire show.
When the lights go down, to indicate the start of the musical, Kadebostany’s ‘Crazy in Love’ plays through the speakers – the first comedic touch from the show, as this is the song featured in the 50 Shades of Grey movie trailer. As the music fades out, all we can see is a blacked out stage, and we hear moaning, slapping, and groaning – clear indicators that sexual intercourse is commencing onstage. Amusingly, when the lights come up, we see three women teaching each other mundane activities, which are completely innocent, but sound extremely dirty with the lights down. This gag is continued later in the show, when one lady is teaching the other how to ‘high five’
It is revealed that these three ladies are part of a book club, and you guessed it, their new book of choice is 50 Shades of Grey. The performance seamlessly interweaves between the women commenting on the book, and parts of the novel being played out on stage for the audience to see.
We quickly meet Ana, the heroine of the novel, who is a meek 21-year-old virgin that is currently attending university. Promptly we are introduced to Katherine Kavanagh, Ana’s promiscuous best friend. Katherine’s name is only referred to in full, throughout the musical, which is no doubt another subtle dig at E. L. James’ novel.
The characters the actors created are exaggerations of the stereotypes that the book intended for them to be. Ana is annoyingly timid, and Katherine s extremely abrasive, and the result is absolutely hilarious. This is where the great comedy lies throughout the performance; you take the bad elements from King’s novel, turn each element up by 100 percent, and humor is born.
José is the next character we meet – he is a Spanish photographer, who is amusingly obsessed with Ana. Ana appears oblivious and unreciprocating to José’s romantic intentions. Many comedic techniques are used to make José a Spanish stereotype, specifically through is posture, and in his dancing, which is heavily influenced by Tango, the Rumba, the Cha Cha, and the Pasodoble – where Ana appears to be the cape, and he the bull
For every scene change, to attractive, shirtless, extremely toned men, assist with moving around the set. Either one of these gentlemen would make the fantastic hero of any female fantasy. I spent a good part of the beginning of the show wondering which of these men would double as Christian Grey, the hero of the show – oh how I was delightfully mistaken. In the book, Christian is described as “So young—and attractive, very attractive. He’s tall, dressed in a fine gray suit, white shirt, and black tie with unruly dark copper-colored hair and intense, bright gray eyes that regard me shrewdly.” The actress who plays Ana says this description word for word, to depict the actor portraying Christian Grey on stage. Here is where my favorite part of the show comes in – the description is not technically incorrect (especially considering attractiveness is objective), however the hero of 50 Shades! The Parody was a heavy-set man with a potbelly.
The actor who played Christian Grey in this musical was certainly the standout of the show – which is high praise, as there was not one weak link in the talented ensemble cast. Although endlessly described as the ideal man, Grey exhibited childlike qualities: constantly needing to show off, playing with things, jumping up and down when he got excited, and a strange aversion to being touche . His ‘seductive’ scene was my favorite part of the show. The actor came out in a mankini, his full-sized belly on full display, and he proceeded to squat, run, and twerk, as foreplay for taking Ana’s virginity.
Not only was the show hysterical, but the choreography and song influences were genius: there were glimpses of Faucet, Gospel, and Christina Aguilera, to name a few. The lyrics of the songs were also fantastic, with titles such as: “There’s a hole inside of me” – where Ana explains how she needs to feel the emptiness inside of her – virgin pun jokes intended, “I don’t make love, I fuck”, where Christian proceeds to tell the entire female audience that he would ‘fuck’ them, or when Ana and Christian sing that they are in a “normal relationship”, yet Christian has Ana attached to a leash.
The show requires you are 18+ years old to attend, and for good reason – the language and content of the musical is not remotely appropriate for children, but highly appropriate for adults ready to have a good time.
The quality of this show, the acting, dancing, and singing, rivaled any musical on Broadway.
50 Shades! The Parody is a must see.
If you would like to get tickets to 50 Shades! The Parody, follow this link: