‘Burlesque — The Show’ and ‘Fantasy’

Call it "topless," "burlesque," "cabaret," "adult" (which always sounded wrong for such a juvenile thing) or my own favorite, "girlie show."

The distinctions have been lost in this durable subgenre of Las Vegas entertainment. And that bothers Brandy Lee.

The veteran Las Vegas show dancer and magician’s assistant figures she wouldn’t be around if not for the real burlesque. Her grandfather was a burlesque producer, her grandmother a dancer. Her mother toured with dancer-turned-presenter Ann Corio.

So "Burlesque –The Show" is a matter of family pride, as well as an attempt to wiggle into a crowded niche by getting a tassel back on the Strip before Cher’s "Burlesque" movie opens Nov. 24.

Lacking the budget to compete with "Fantasy" or "Peepshow" on a production scale, the little Westin Casuarina show opts for a return to classic form. Along with the expected striptease, the five dancers and "top banana" Bruce "Big John" Mickelson re-create the cornball skits once synonymous with the genre.

You could say this is also what Sean Cooper is doing in "Fantasy" when he dresses up like Tina Turner or imitates Sammy Davis Jr. before shedding the toupee to reveal his shaved head. "Fantasy" doesn’t call itself burlesque, but the two shows give you the straight-line evolution of a genre that’s been on the Strip since the early 1950s.

"Burlesque" probably gets close to what it was like to watch Tempest Storm or Lili St. Cyr at the old El Rancho Vegas or Silver Slipper. Those rooms didn’t have to overcome a corporate-meeting atmosphere where it seems like someone will talk about insurance. But the modest stage, limited lighting and little cabaret tables with candles are surely accurate in their low-tech intimacy.

The retro concept doesn’t lock into place until the delayed arrival of Mickelson, whose mugging is a perfect fit as he dusts off some classic banter with designated "funny girl" Laurie Huff. They are self-aware and know not to treat this stuff with any reverence. Mickelson smooths the path for the younger folks and stray conventioneers who expected more raunch: "Sorry, bro, this is old-school (stuff)." Or, "Spit take! It’s a classic."

The ability to speak also gives the quintet of women personality. Lee and co-producer/choreographer Kendra Alyse mix in contemporary numbers, but their hearts are clearly in the past. Jennifer Ferreira does a spectacular dance on a big "shoe sofa" to the obscure "I Refuse to Rock and Roll" by Julie Wilson. The collected cast just says no to "Save a Horse, Ride A Cowboy" and instead humps their saddle horses to down ‘n’ dirty saxophone.

The modern stuff is more generic. A couple of tunes shared with the rival "X Burlesque" seem like a lift, even though songs such as Touch & Go’s "Would You …?" are technically available for anyone with iTunes.

Still, if the Westin serves as a calling card to show what the gals could do with a real budget, save me a place in line.

Horn dogs should note the emphasis is on the "tease" here, with modest blocking keeping the breast count down to a few glimpses. To see nipples in full computerized stage light, gents should stick to "Fantasy."

With 11 years of dependability, "Fantasy" is the front-runner in the local skin game. It has an admirable knack for throwing itself parties to bring the media back in (Twist my arm a little harder!), the latest precipitated by the departure of semicelebrity Angelica Bridges after eight months.

The new star is Lorena Peril, who was the most memorable thing about the departed "Sin City Bad Girls." The former Christina Aguilera impersonator and potential Ab Glider poster girl is a rowdy host who tilts the production toward loud pop with a Latin flair; even the topless numbers she’s not part of seemed a little less hot and bothered, a little more like music videos.

Peril’s powerhouse belting of James Brown’s "It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World" impressed other media nighters more than me. But that’s less a statement on Peril than where you stand with the whole show-boaty, gospel-derived Mariah Carey school of ignoring a lyric.

The secret of "Fantasy" versus the competition was summed up by Peril and Cooper having a blast with Shakira’s "Hips Don’t Lie." Sex sells "Fantasy," but personality delivers it. And maybe personality is the modern distinction that separates "burlesque" from the strip clubs.

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Glittering Lights dazzles Las Vegas
The Glittering Lights holiday display is shining at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Mat Luschek/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Skybar at Waldorf Astoria lets you sip your way through Las Vegas history
Skybar At Waldorf Astoria Lets You Sip Your Way Through Las Vegas History (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Stan Lee in Las Vegas for Madame Tussauds unveiling
Stan Lee Las Vegas speaks with the Review-Journal's Chris Lawrence about his love for his fans and shared universes. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ultimate Belgium Waffle Sundae at Lavo
Lavo at the Palazzo serves a 16-scoop ice cream sundae that costs $800. (Rochelle Ricahrds, Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel lLas Vegas Review-Journal)
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"The Lion King" roars into Las Vegas
New music club 172 brings loud luxury to Las Vegas
New music venue at the Rio brings rock ’n’ roll and food together at intimate club. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fans fear for Zak Bagans’ safety in Las Vegas Halloween TV special
Fly Linq zip line time lapse
Fly Linq zip line timelapse
Shaq opens Las Vegas restaurant, Big Chicken
Shaq opens Las Vegas restaurant, Big Chicken
Robert Deniro And Chef Nobu Talk About The Success Of Nobu
Robert Deniro And Chef Nobu Talk About The Success Of Nobu (Al Mancini Las Vegas Review-journal)
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center
Nevada Ballet Theatre rehearses for "Dracula" at The Smith Center (Janna Karel/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Recycled Art and Cute Dogs at Summerlin Festival Of Arts
Recycled Art, Cute Dogs Abound At Summerlin Festival Of Arts (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jason Aldean talks about the possibility of a Las Vegas residency
Country superstar Jason Aldean discusses his feelings about playing in Las Vegas and says he'd be interested in a Las Vegas residency when the time is right at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21, 2018.(John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who To Watch At Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful Setup
Workers preparing Fremont street for this weekend's Life is Beautiful festival, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like