'50 Shades of F****d Up' brings laughs to the Red House

Review: '50 Shades of F****d Up,' an unofficial parody of 'Fifty Shades of Grey,' had a brief but memorable stay at the Red House Arts Center.

In the hands of Tricia Brouk, when Christian Grey and Anastasia Steel meet, they sing, they dance and they spank.

As a part of their Presenting Residency Program, the Red House Arts Center presented 50 Shades Of F****d Up, an unofficial parody of the popular Fifty Shades Of Grey series.

Anastasia "Ana" Steele (Sarah Armstrong) is an innocent college senior who has to interview Christian Grey (Ben McHugh), a successful and wealthy young entrepreneur, for the school newspaper. And after that first meeting, Steele obsesses over how “he’s so hot” and intimidating. Armstrong delivers on unknowing and clumsy little miss Steele and manages to get a few chuckles at her naiveté. Her character really comes through in her performance of “He Saved My Life,” with her repeated childlike whimpering of, “He saved my life but didn’t save a kiss.”

All the while, Grey is warning her to stay away from him because she has no idea what she’s getting into (or why he bought the rope and masking tape from the hardware store she works at). McHugh delivers an entertaining Grey, especially in his repeated request of her to be his submissive. His overbearing, egoistical and dominant nature is conveyed clearly in McHugh’s performance of “Lip Service” and “Rules of Fair Play.”

The act confronts some of Steele’s bigger issues, like the fact that she actually enjoys being dominated. It is made evident when her Inner Goddess (Mike Longo) points out that she loves it; because, even before Grey came along, she let her supposed best friend Kate Kavanagh (Shiloh Goodin) do it all the time. Longo plays an entertaining and sassy inner goddess who nudges Steele into Grey’s arms. His performance as Jose, Steele’s friend, though short, is an absolute treat to watch because of his demeanor and dialogue delivery.

Longo and Goodin as Grey’s global chorus make for humorous narrators to the ongoing romance between the two lead characters. Their witty dialogues put together with choreography by Brouk keeps the audience engaged.

Only encompassing a part of the book, 50 Shades Of F****d Up achieves what it sets out to do. The catchy lyrics and rhythms and energetic, upbeat choreography present a mockery of the themes presented in the book. But what it also does is provide fans with a theatrical version of the story that entertains with a comic approach.

Other upcoming productions at the Red House Arts Center include The Hocus Pocus Experience on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, 'Night Mother on Nov. 22-24, and The Music Man on Dec. 5-21.

Photo courtesy of the Red House Arts Center.

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