Variety is the spice of life at the Flamingo, and what a spicy life it is for X Burlesque. The routines in the adult production, which celebrated its second anniversary last week, are as varied as the showgirls it showcases.
The 90-minute set has something for everyone: blondes, brunettes; perky A-cups, curvaceous C-cups; thick thighs, thin thighs, real boobs, fake boobs. If you like women and like to see them shake what their mothers (or surgeons) gave them, you will like this show.
The program starts strong and the girls don’t waste much time before tossing their tops. While classic burlesque emphasizes the artful, prolonged tease, this isn’t your father’s burlesque show.
In celebration of X Burlesque’s two-year anniversary, the routines have recently been revamped and the cast has been given a new collection of sexy, sparkly costumes.
The seductive dance sequences are set to a mix-and-match soundtrack featuring classic Motley Crue, new Nickelback, and twangy Toby Keith, among others. A cute and poppy routine set to Christina Aguilera’s “Candyman” is particularly pleasing, with the girls dressed in sparkly, Barbie-doll pink lingerie adorned with black lace and big, satin bows. Meanwhile, black knee-high fishnets and Mary Jane heels complete the look, generating a saucy, naughty-but-nice appeal.
The show also features a mildly disturbing tribute to the troops, where the girls flounce around flaunting machine guns, at times pointing them at the crowd. Adding to the misguided military salute are dramatic images of cross-covered hills projected onto screens on either side of the theater. While the cast looks cute in their army-inspired costumes, the routine misses the mark and for many, and is more of a turn-off than a turn-on.
Most of the performance, however, is lighthearted and fun.
The cast knows how to play up their girl-on-girl appeal, too, with a sultry vignette featuring two beauties and one very lucky sponge in a claw foot tub, and another sequence where three of the showgirls roll around on a big black mattress at center stage.
Solo numbers are featured throughout the performance, woven in between more grandiose group routines. While the weaker solo shows feature cheesy lip-synching, the better ones showcase some pretty impressive physical and artistic flexibility.
Unfortunately, the X Burlesque experience also includes a pathetic halftime show featuring the decidedly unsexy Nancy Ryan.
Although Ryan calls herself a comedian, her 10-minute set is more offensive and embarrassing than anything else. While many good comedians can be brilliant while being rude and crude, Ryan is not one of them.
Thankfully, when the showgirls step back into the spotlight, they give the audience plenty of reasons to forget the stand-up nightmare that came before.
The showgirls are, for the most part, a talented ensemble. While their dance and gymnastic skills are impressive, it is somewhat sad to know their ability to do anything beyond stretching and shaking is generally lost among the hooting, hollering crowd.
The audience is a typical collection Vegas girlie show ticketholders: Mostly middle-aged men from Middle America, with a strong contingent of suit-clad convention-goers, a handful of wide-eyed 21-year-olds, and a spattering of uniformed military personnel determined to make the most of their leave.
The most amusing aspect of the 180-seat crowd, however, is the sprinkling of stupid boyfriends and husbands who, in their infinite wisdom, decided to bring their wives and girlfriends to the show.
One might think, ‘What man in his right mind would bring his significant other to a topless revue?’ The answer, apparently, is about a dozen of them, seven nights a week.
It should be noted, however, that the smarter men who were foolish enough to bring their plus-ones to the show are smart enough to put their arm around their mate as they look on upon the sultry sea of flesh onstage.
Still, it all makes for great people watching, both on and off the stage.