51 Shades of Maggie – Review


Saturday night, the Theatre Royal Wakefield and a request for no nudity in the auditorium!

To be fair, I haven’t read Fifty Shades of Grey, apart from one very short excerpt in a writing magazine and I’ve listened to a reading on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5K1RcKJVbHA it’s really quite funny). From what I have read/heard though, I didn’t like it. I didn’t find it offensive or anything, I just thought it was a bit poor. *ducks to avoid being beaten by the fans* So when my friend asked if I wanted to go see 51 Shades of Maggie with her and some others, I was a little bit apprehensive, but agreed. It was a mick take. How bad could it be, and after all, it’s not like I had anything better to do this Valentine’s Day weekend.

We had some food in Leeds first (All Bar One burgers are surprisingly nice), then ran for the train, missed the train (probably my fault, I’m a punctuality disaster) then got another one. We arrived, pretty much on time in Wakefield (Westgate Station has been all done up and is well posh now, check it out if you have reason to go!) and scurried off to the theatre.

The Theatre Royal is one I’ve not been to and I have to say it’s dead nice. Quaint and cosy but I had plenty of leg room. I realise this isn’t difficult with 29 inch legs, but still.

There were also a lot more men there than I expected.

So, the deal is I went in with a closed mind expecting the show to be a bit crap, but it was actually really really good. It was well written, well performed and really funny. I was pleasantly surprised.

It’s basically a one woman show with a revolving bed as the only prop. Leah MacRae performed all the roles brilliantly. You could always tell who she was, which is a skill that a lot of one person shows fail on. The music fit the tone, the costume design was simple but genius. Without any deliberate spoilers, there’s also a big change in tone at one point which was performed beautifully and believably. The theatre went silent (apart from one cackling woman who got told to shut up by someone and responded by telling them to screw themselves – really – and it wasn’t me, I swear!) and you could feel the atmosphere just completely change.

Then there’s a happy ending, and that’s always nice isn’t it?

I’ve read a few reviews online before and since seeing the play and there’s a general attitude that the show is vulgar and there’s too much swearing. From what I do know about the original Fifty Shades, I’m not really sure what these reviewers were expecting to be honest. As someone from a working class background I barely noticed the swearing (judge me on that if you please, I don’t really care) and as for it being vulgar, it’s about sex and BDSM so if you’re likely to find that offensive, don’t go see it.

Personally, I think Leesa Harker’s written a good show and it’s being performed well. I’m also stealing the phrase Niagara knickers, because it amused me.

The icing on the cake was after watching this show, full of references to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Scotland generally, performed in a variety of Glaswegian accents, was my friend saying “so what was she Geordie?” on the way back to Leeds.


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