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Gabe Bowling in Spank!

It was girls' night out at the Parker Playhouse, where Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody played to a nearly sold-out audience comprised almost entirely of women of a certain age, although I did see a few old men who were dragged there by their wives, who still think they are much younger.

The parody is largely a Canadian production. Jim Millan is one of Canada's most noted stage directors, Jon Blair is a writer on this show and a performer in a comedy troupe in Toronto. Another wrier on this show, assistant director Colin Munch is a member of a Canadian comedy sketch troupe, and Anne Marie Scheffler, who is one of the three actors on stage as well as being a writer, has a solo show currently being performed at various venues in Ontario.

Danielle TrzcinskiDanielle TrzcinskiThe best part of Friday nights' show was a spontaneous exchange with members of the audience. It went something like this, with the laughter meter from 1 to 10.

Danielle Trzcinski, the third actor in the parody, went along the front row and asked a woman if her cell phone was off. She picked it up, turned it on and saw a picture of a pet dog. She then asked a woman named Bonnie for medical advice. Addressing her as Dr. Bonnie, she explained that her boyfriend (played by Gabe Bowling) wanted to fist her. Naturally concerned about a rather unusual request, she asked Dr. Bonnie what she should be most worried about. "Make sure he cuts his fingernails," she replied. Laughter meter 9.

Wow, said Danielle in her role as Tasha, now we have fingernails and a dog, maybe a maltese. Dr. Bonnie responded to say she had a maltese named fluffy. Laughter meter 9.

"Do you clip it's nails?," asked Tasha. Laughter meter 10 plus. This was a showstopper, with people laughing themselves to tears.

The bad news is this was funnier by far than anything that appeared on stage.

For women who wanted to shed all inner inhibitions and wanted to revert back to their locker room giggles and humour, this was their show. For men who had never attended a bachelorette party, it was quite insightful. It was trite fun, well performed by all three actors.

Spank! The Fifty Shades of Parody appears again Apr. 20 at Parker Playhouse. For more about the show and other performances, visit their website:

Photos courtesy of Tim Greenway.

Clifford Cunningham

Clifford Cunningham is a planetary scientist currently affiliated with the National Astronomical Research Institute. He did his PhD work in the history of astronomy at James Cook University, and has undergraduate degrees in science and ancient history from the University of Waterloo. He is the author of 12 books on asteroids and the history of science. In 1999 he appeared on the TV show Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Asteroid 4276 was named in his honour by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in 1990.

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