Welcome to The D, where the bar is long but the stage is short.
The former Fitzgeralds has done a great job of reinventing itself with a new energy, even if the wall-to-wall bar on the ground floor is more symbolic, and prominent, than the remodeled showroom upstairs.
But three shows now crowd into the little 225-seater, and the old-Vegas variety act The Scintas join the fun on April 3. The D will soon account for four of six shows downtown, making it in one sense the center of the Fremont Street action.
Still, the showroom expansion stopped short of the low-ceilinged stage, which still looks about like it did in the Fitzgeralds era. That’s more of a problem for the topless late show “Raack N Roll” than for family-friendly afternoon magician Adam London, or the dinner show “Marriage Can Be Murder.” That one (reviewed in October 2011) works the whole room and really just uses the stage for accent points.
“Raack N Roll” doesn’t compare well to the more lavish topless cabaret shows on the Strip, but its only downtown competition is The Girls of Glitter Gulch. Even so, it works hard to be a “real” show.
Maybe too hard.
No problem getting an eyeful of the titular attraction(s). Because of the cozy setting, the dancers frequently make it down to the floor and sometimes to an easy chair stage tucked over by the service bar.
But the more they try to do with billowing sheets of fabric, riding crops and Waterpiks, the more you conversely notice the limitations of the setting.
It’s hard to decide whether to laugh or be impressed when Tracy Vietmeier performs on a swing that hangs a foot or two in the air, or Tiffany Hyt entangles herself in low-hanging vines.
Producers Matt and Angela Stabile do their usual slick job of putting it all together with a fair amount of wit and connecting video, even when it’s projected on a drop-down screen like you see in classroom presentations.
This compact little production — five female dancers and one John Travolta-dancing male impressionist named Robert Nash — first played at Hooters Casino. There it was seriously loud and set to more aggressive rock music than you usually hear in a casino show.
This time, the tuneage has eased back to a painless volume and punches in more boomer-friendly classics. If you’re paying attention, you might figure out the show is fast-moving in part because few songs are heard all the way through.
That also allows for a greater variety of music. “Raack” may be the only topless show in history to strip to an Osmonds song, “Crazy Horses” (perhaps in homage to Donny Osmond being a Flamingo-mate of the Stabiles’ “X Burlesque”).
You get your usual Catholic schoolgirl silliness with “Hot for Teacher,” but also some ambitious dancing and an occasional flash of creativity, such as Silver Cayton’s “reverse” strip to Papa Roach’s “Hollywood Whore.”
In the afternoons, comedy magician Adam London’s first illusion is making the little stage look a lot bigger. His “Laughternoon” is just him, a few props and some people called up from the audience for a classic, nightclub-style magic show.
That means card tricks and fake-outs delivered with a high joke count per minute, even if half of them are groaners. (“Careful, this is a Sharpie,” he says as he hands a volunteer a marker pen.)
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas theater graduate is a little slow out of the gate filling us in on his Mormon roots in Utah and his fondness for carnival midway duckies. And even at 50 minutes, London could tighter wind the leisurely pace and make the show build more; now it’s just a series of segments.
But he’s a nice guy who gets us on his side soon enough and puts his own twist on basic routines. At one point he sings “That Old Black Magic” while simultaneously drawing a cartoon.
The stand-out segment doesn’t even involve sleight of hand. London figures out which of four people is hiding a colored ball instead of a black one by making each of them tell lies. The ultimate lesson? Hmm, that women tend to be better liars.
Come summer, you can decide if that will be a good lesson for the young ones. But when the hot weather sets in, London stands to be a solid addition to a Fremont Street afternoon.
Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@
reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.
“Raack N Roll”
10:30 p.m. Thursday-Monday
The D, 301 Fremont St.
Adam London “Laughternoon”
4 p.m. daily
The D, 301 Fremont St.