May 8, 2013
Deflorate is the post-pollination stage; a time in a flower’s life when it can no longer produce and has spread its seed only to be left to wilt and have its nutrients dissolve into the earth. What the Off-Broadway troupe that performed in the Charleston Music Hall managed to do was to take the, shall we say, naughty novel Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James and breathe life back into the masochistic, dominant literature by making it an evening full of well written crudity and hilarious songs about nudity. The play opened with a women’s book club gushing over the raunchy content of Jame’s book that centers around a young female, Anastasia Steele, played by Amber Petty, that has not yet been deflowered and is low on self-esteem. Her friends make her the focus of their jokes, and she does not feel like a rose, more a thorn bush, when along comes Christian Grey, a stout, young business magnate with a libido that would make Dionysus squeamish and played by a rather surprising Chris Grace. The rest of the story can pretty much be summed up as a cookie cutter love story made famous by the fact that the author refers to genitalia more times than not.
It was an evening that promised to let more than a few cats out of the bag, and the Music Hall was filled with over 500 women and a few reluctant husbands and boyfriends. While the musical has received amazing reviews, even the staff at the Music Hall was a little worried about the content and quality of the performance. However, we were delightfully surprised, as the writing, music, acting, and vocal performances were of top-notch quality.
When the theater emptied during intermission everyone had a smile on their face. Friends joked about the different songs ranging from “There’s a Hole Inside of Me” to “Red Room of Pain,” discussed the deflowering of the protagonist, and gushed about the breathtaking vocal performances by each of the characters. As the Chardonnay, Merlot, and Westbrook IPAs took full effect, the droves of patrons grew all the more excited. It was a night filled with mature themes, beautiful voices, and plenty of wine that culminated into an event to be remembered. With the Merch table selling explicit items, some of rubber, some of leather, others of a more slippery variety, each patron left with a smile on their face, a belly full of cheer, and the rest of their evening to stew over their wonderful night at the Charleston Music Hall.
– Bennett Jones, CMH Assistant Director