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Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody

Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody
Our eclectic team of writers from around Australia – and a couple beyond – with decades of combined experience and interest in all fields.

Stephen Mahy — of I Will Survive fame — is relishing his new role as the hot male lead, based on Fifty Shades of Grey mega-hunk Christian Grey, in Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody.

“I like being a man,” Mahy laughs. “I Will Survive was a fantastic experience. The fact that I had to get in heels was, I think, just a bit of a joke for everyone. When you're in heels your legs look better, so now I kind of understand why women do that, but I don't understand the pain that you go through just to have good-looking legs. I appreciate how dressing in drag is, gender illusion and the lifestyle, it's just being a man is fun too!”

And what a man, indeed. Mahy plays Grey-inspired leading man Hugh Hanson, and says that the initial pressure of immortalising such a character was intense. “Everyone was like 'oh my god, you're gonna play Christian Grey', and it was like 'well, in a way, yes'. But I play Hugh Hanson, and he's so far from being a real person really, that it's a little bit harder to play someone like that, because it's a joke.”

Part of that joke is that the Grey character is based on Batman, says Mahy, referencing Grey's broken family, billionaire status, and assortment of gadgets. “There's a burlesque dance that I get to do, and it's pretty much a male strip. And it's the whole joke of him being Batman, and I become Batman, and pretty much get down to my underwear and a Batman mask. And that's the whole joke about how funny this character is. Like 'oh, he's so sexy and hot' but really he's just the man behind a mask.”

Unsurprisingly, the response, particularly from the female population, has been very positive. “I think because the Christian Grey character is so prominent in their minds, and some people have changed their lives because of this book—they go 'oh my god, my sex life's been dramatically changed'—so when I walk out, that's their perception, they either like me or they don't (fingers crossed that they do!), but they seem to scream,” Mahy says. “And I'm kinda going 'ok, I'm just trying to get the steps right', but the ladies go off, and I think even the men are enjoying themselves as much. I think at first they're like 'oh my god, why am I coming to this play?' And then they see their partner or their wife just start to giggle and react, and their reactions are huge. I think they're trying to be a bit more reserved, but they certainly enjoy it.”

Mahy hints that readers of the Fifty Shades series will find plenty of inside jokes throughout the piece, “but you don't need to read the book to understand it. Some of the people haven't even read the book. I have a photo with everyone after the show, and I say 'have you read the book?', and they're like 'oh, no, we just know so much about it' or 'my girlfriend's read it and I think I'm gonna go home and read the book now'.”

As for covering the often-graphic subject matter, Mahy promises subtlety. “We get enough risque movement and scenes in there that we understand what's gonna happen. So people go 'yeah ok, we don't need to see a sex scene'. So, I tie [leading lady, Natasha] up with the silver tie; everybody loves the silver tie. As soon as they see the tie, they're like 'oh my god, he's got the tie on!'”

The Brisbane season has been extended to April 28, with the possibility of further shows if audiences demand them. “If people keep coming to see the show, then obviously they're going to keep it up here,” says Mahy, “We seem to be packing out the houses when we're performing. I hope the show continues, because I just think it needs to be seen. Fingers crossed!”

Stephen Mahy performs in Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody until April 28 at Twelfth Night Theatre.

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