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50 Shades! The Musical (Edinburgh Fringe)

An uproarious US parody of EL James' erotic novel hits the Fringe

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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This show, which arrives in Edinburgh after an acclaimed premiere Stateside, takes a loud, brash and generally uproarious swipe at the novel that famously smashed the boundary between erotica and the mainstream.

Running at 69 minutes (naturally), it sees a trio of women in a reading group embark on a journey of sexual discovery in tandem with that of Anastasia, the hilariously naive college student who is seduced by the hilariously weird billionaire Christian Grey.

If you're unfamiliar with EL James' oeuvre fear not, the jokes, most of which take aim at Grey's obsession with bondage, are broader than a barn door. Highlights include a love duet performed inside the infamous 'red room' of sex toys, and Grey imploring the unwilling Ana to sign a contract of submission (she doesn't want to get tied down) whilst piloting a toy helicopter. There are even nods to Phantom and Les Mis.

Lucy Grainger and Chris Grace do strong work in the central roles, with Grace in particular revelling in his cast-against-type turn as the titular tycoon. And with a colourful cast of supporting characters, including the spaghetti-legged Spanish lothario Juan, there are no shortage of laughs along the way.

But I doubt it's the most innovative, nor the most technically accomplished, parody you'll see at the Fringe this year.

50 Shades! The Musical runs at Assembly Hall until 25 August