Bare breasts aren’t the only test.
That’s what one male patron—grousing over the unrevealed ta-ta’s of iCandy Burlesque as he departed a recent show—didn’t grasp. While we’d never disparage toplessness—that would truly be a sin in this city—relying too heavily on The Twins can leave a burlesque show artistically flat. (Exhibit Double D: Flamingo’s glorified girlie show, X Burlesque.)
Happily, this show gets that, re-launching earlier this month at Planet Hollywood’s Saxe Theater after a stint at Tropicana’s Ambhar Lounge. While it doesn’t skimp on skimpy outfits and sexy accouterments (love the fishnets and those adorable spank-me! riding crops), high-energy iCandy—featuring talented performers including Jaime Lynch (X Factor), Felice Garcia (The Voice) and Elisa Furr—uses PG-13 sensuality to prove that suggestiveness is hotter than explicitness. (Tossing the ladies a bone, sorta speak, a male host provides beefcake amid the cheesecake.)
Choreographed to maximum sexiness by Nannette Barbera and paced like rushing floodwaters—nearly 30 production numbers and more than 100 costume changes over the course of 70 minutes—iCandy has a repertoire that honors the heyday of tease. “My Heart Belongs to Daddy,” “Whatever Lola Wants” and “Let Me Entertain You” are among the temperature-risers, sexy bods writhing to the music. Pole-dancing exertions to “Big Spender,” set to a thumping backbeat, are guaranteed to quicken the pulse.
Charmingly retro, its nod to contemporary pop eroticism isn’t Lady Gaga or even Madonna, but Patti LaBelle, via “Lady Marmalade.” Still other moments up the class quotient with ladies in gowns—including a stirring performance of “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” from Dreamgirls that echoes Jennifer Hudson. (Although one routine with a dancer twirling fire spheres dangerously close to the stage curtains is a tad unnerving.) As alluring as the ladies: sumptuous lighting that runs from smoky sensuousness to rock-show glam, plus the provocative sets (particularly the oversize, S&M-style swing set).
Steamy variety show rather than static flesh parade, iCandy Burlesque is a triumph of hubba-hubba wholesomeness that honors the erotic arts because it’s infused with as much art as eroticism. (10:30 p.m. Wed-Mon, $50, 260-7200.)
NOSH ON NOTES: Jazz—even in this global entertainment mecca—could use any boost it’s given. Count two new ones: Vegas staple Lon Bronson and his swing-a-licious big band signed on for weekly Friday night gigs at Green Valley Ranch’s Ovation Room beginning Sept. 7. Shows are free, doors open at 10. On a grander (and educational) scale, The Smith Center booked the national Jazz Roots series in which concerts come with extras for Clark County schoolchildren. Kiddie concertgoers can watch sound checks and attend classes and Q&As with musicians, including Sergio Mendes and Candy Dulfer (Nov. 9), Manhattan Transfer (Jan. 17), and Patti Austin, the Count Basie Orchestra and Kevin Mahogany (Feb. 3).
Great news—scat it from the rooftops.
STRIP POSTSCRIPT: Waiting for the Saxe Theater to open, this critic was outside a pizza joint at the Miracle Mile Shops when approached by a young lady who was portraying, shall we say, a very willing girlfriend. However, this reviewer cannot critique her talent, having declined her offer of a pre-show performance. Well, perhaps one observation about her hackneyed script, highlighted by: “Hey, baby, wanna date?” Freshen your material, sweetheart.