Fifty Shades of Mayhem: Meet the audience
Going to see Fifty Shades of Grey? Prepare for the daftest trip to the cinema in a long time. “I’ve booked us to see Fifty Shades of Grey for our Valentine’s treat,” said my husband. “What’s it about?” Now it’s fair to say that he’s not on top of trends in women’s popular culture. He prefers a book about World War 2 and a whisky tasting to a night out where he is possibly the only man in an audience of screaming women. And given that the screening started at 9.30pm it is fair to assume these women had consumed more than one pina colada on their way to the cinema.
I’d already been warned that every time the hero Mr Grey’s shirt comes off, women would shout words of encouragement – by a friend whose friend had already seen it. But nothing prepared me. As the poor man’s Jude Law tells Anastasia who’s interviewing him about his hobbies “I have a number of physical pursuits” a voice from the audience screams: “Amen to that”.
Pretty soon into the film the shirt comes off and the cackling begins. Now I’m not sure if it’s where we live. Most of us are the children of Brixton and East Ender stallholders and bricklayers who’ve moved to our posh suburb. In other words, we are the kind of Londoners who a few centuries back would have been throwing tomatoes at bad actors at the Globe. Beneath the blow dried hair and manicured nails, we have some unpolished surfaces. Perhaps it will be different when you see the film. In fact in France, they’ll probably watch in rapt silence and go home and seduce each other with masting tape and parcel string.
But this is Britain, and anything about sex raises our titters rather than our temperatures. There he is, Mr Grey on top of a building standing next to a helicopter. “Blimey, he got his chopper out for her,” one wag shouts from the audience.
There’s a shot of his buttocks. The women are screaming and laughing at them. My husband asks “But what about her shift at the hardware shop?”. Then Mr Grey gets Anastasia into the bath. “Here we go” someone screams as the characters sink into the suds. In a touching moment, he sniffs her knickers. “Ewwwwwwww” comes the cackle.
Unable to concentrate, my mind wanders to how my hubby and I would cope with tying knots. I got chucked out of The Girl Guides for having dirty finger nails and he never even went to Scouts. It would take us hours to tie a bit of rope and we’d probably end up rowing about doing it wrong. As the wrack comes down in the playroom (and not the kind of playroom you had for your toddlers), I half expect a ham to be swinging from it. The acting isn’t always up to much.
He asks her to bend over and again the audience burst into a spontaneous “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh”. Each intimate scene is drowned out by laughing then screaming “No No No” at the screen as the ending hits us abruptly. We all head towards the exit. Some of us have laughed so hard we’ve wet our knickers. But the last word goes to the woman who spying her friend on the pavement throng outside shouts: “Zena! It was sh*t”.
Still, best night out I’ve had in a long time…