"Fifty Shades of Grey" fans will have to wait another year to see the "mommy porn" novel's racy themes play out on the big screen, but a parody musical of the E.L. James-penned book is touring the country and stopping in Washington, D.C., this weekend.
The nation's capital will get to experience sex, whips, bondage, and nearly a dozen chirpy musical numbers as "50 Shades! The Musical!" hits the city's Warner Theater.
"For those not familiar with the literary masterpiece, the pages are full of sexual tension, bondage, whipping, and more," Kyle O'Donnell wrote for news website InTheCapital
. "The comedic romp [musical] does not skimp on any of the erotic details. There is groping. There is lingerie. There are wrestling singlets. And, fear not, there are whips. After all, what would a '50 Shades of Grey' parody be without some good ol' fashion BDSM?"
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The show centers around a book club of three suburban women who become consumed by the erotic novel and its characters — the young virgin Anastasia Steele and the mysterious billionaire Christian Grey. Some of its most comedic moment stem from actor Chris Grace, who plays Grey but looks nothing like the fantasy man in the book series. According to the Washington Post, his debut onstage
once reportedly elicited the following comment from an audience member: "Ooh! Back hair!"
"It's the weird disconnect between the Christian Grey of readers' fantasy lives and the peculiar fish onstage here that gives this '50 Shades!' a lot of its comic charge," a July review in the San Francisco Chronicle read
. "Grace's well-judged performance is id run amok. He makes Christian's sexuality both blunt and bumptious, as his noisily slurping first seduction of Anastasia demonstrates. He's part sumo wrestler and part ballet dancer, the self-absorbed star of his own storyline."
The musical premiered last year to mostly positive reviews.
"'50 Shades! The Musical' . . . does an adequate and sometimes charming job of dissecting the 'mommy porn' appeal of E.L. James' best-seller, surreptitiously consumed on e-readers by those not bold enough to flaunt the physical book on public transit," Kerry Reid wrote in an October Chicago Tribune review.
But critics have taken potshots at the production's bare-bones staging.
"The skimpy production values that wouldn't detract on a late-night sketch stage feel like an insulting afterthought at these prices," Reid wrote. "More crucially, one wishes that the three ladies who leer in the book club could ultimately register as more than a generic Greek chorus of frustrated females."
The film adaptation of "Fifty Shades of Grey" is scheduled to hit theaters Valentine's Day 2015. After months of casting rumors, Dakota Johnson signed on in September to play Anastasia and, when "Sons of Anarchy's" Charlie Hunnam dropped out, Jamie Dornan was tapped to portray Christian.
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