Never Sleep Alone February 14, 12:30 a.m., $54-$87. Spiegeltent at Caesars Palace, 702-242-1987.
Las Vegas has its behavioral problems, but buttoned-up, anxiety-ridden abstinence is not one of them. Which might explain the decidedly chilly reception Never Sleep Alone opened to Tuesday night inside Absinthe’s Spiegeltent at Caesars Palace.
Spiegelworld’s latest offering is a New York transplant, a faux-educational experience that promises to get everyone in the audience laid through a variety of increasingly risqué activities (sing alongs, sexual questionnaires and some straight-up stranger makeouts). The audience can self-select into “Singles” (those unafraid of being asked to participate in one-on-one dating games) or “Voyeurs” (those in relationships or who just don’t want the possibility having to kiss a random stranger). The whole event is hosted by Dr. Alex, part sex guru and part carnival barker, driven to getting people to break out of their ruts and get laid by offering sex advice in what are some genuinely funny acronyms, like BFF=UCB (Best Friend Forever=Ultimate Cock Block) and GDGH (Go Down or Go Home).
It might not surprise you to learn that the actual sex advice being offered is about as enlightening as a “What Happens in Vegas” commercial. Dressing up traditional gender norms in new clothing and promoting them as revolutionary or somehow flipping the script is not the way to actually release people from their sexual hang-ups and create a sex-positive, liberated vibe—any more than buying the latest thong from Victoria’s Secret will overturn the patriarchy.
Any Trump supporter will tell you that if a show’s entertaining enough, politics don’t matter. But unfortunately, Dr. Alex wasn’t gonzo enough to truly shock, or insightful enough to truly convey a real truth about sex. She seemed unable to actually connect to the crowd—there were more than a few volunteers she had to quickly flip past because she couldn’t cajole them into joining her onstage. When a large group exercise veered out of control, she took on the tone of a grade school teacher who suddenly realizes she’s given the students too much freedom. And a lot of her more cerebral humor—anthropology jokes, twists on Buddhist aphorisms and Miss Saigon references—might play in downtown NYC theatres, but definitely fell flat here.
If there’s one thing Vegas understands better than anyplace else, it’s that extreme displays of rigid gender roles will probably get you laid. Our town is built on letting people play that game. But when you see enough men in suits or shorts and a backwards baseball cap being “decisive” and “interesting” while ladies try to be mysterious and alluring, you realize this isn’t any kind of revolutionary advice—it’s amateur hour at a nightclub, and we’ve seen that show a hundred times before.