Peepshow should change with Coco era

Big 36Ds to fill.

Such was the mammary—sorry, mammoth—challenge for Planet Hollywood’s Peepshow with the departure of preggers star Holly Madison after her Oct. 21 finale. … Mission accomplished and then some: Greet Coco Austin—39DD.

Announced Sept. 24, the Ice Loves Coco co-star doffs her top starting Dec. 3, the lead chest—sorry, role—filled by ensemble dancers in the interim. Yet this could be not just a Passing of the Breasts, but an opportune moment for producers to reassess this topless burlesque show that is all orgasm, no lovemaking.

Peepshow posits a world of nursery rhymes gone raunchy in which Bo Peep (Holly/Coco and their assets) is a sexual naïf swept on a tour of sensual discovery by brassy Peep Diva (Cheaza Figueroa). That narrative excuse—“plot,” if you insist—unzips sweaty, sex-drenched set pieces featuring fantasy characters, each more bombastic and exhibitionist than the last.

Much of Peepshow is technically stunning, from a girl rollicking above the audience on a swing, to a giant, glittery pumpkin opening to reveal a stripper pole (and stripper), to women splashing in a huge vat of milk (guess what it’s meant to suggest) to a dude’s acrobatics on a rope (dangling between his legs, phallic-style). Music detonates like blasting powder, some via the power pipes of Josh Strickland.

Yet Peepshow is a carnal mess:

• Visually assaultive, it overstuffs the stage—including three runways thrust into the crowd—turning the audience into swivel-necked ADD sufferers. While making full use of the stage, often cited as a positive, it diffuses the action so you can’t focus on—or enjoy—any performer or bit of business for more than mere seconds. Suggestion: Narrow the focus with creative discipline.

• Theater or girly show? Hovering between, Peepshow creates confusing expectations. Supposedly a journey of sexual awakening, it’s essentially massive (albeit clever) production numbers strung together, absent an intelligible narrative arc. Suggestion: When claiming to tell a story, even one this slight, actually tell it. Calling rewrite!

• Dramatic climax? Tough when the plot’s hanging by a G-string. Against this standard, it should be the reveal of Bo’s boobs as she blossoms into her sexual self, the audience ogling the marquee melons. Instead, Holly’s twins go commando at the show’s midpoint. Suggestion: Enough ensemble hotties go bare, start to finish. The star? Tease us. Then, finally, please us.

• Peepshow needs a star who’s nominally an actress and might have one in Coco, who has appeared in several series. Previously noted here, Holly is a marvelous Vegas ambassador—the best since Wayne Newton—and her name lures crowds. Surely she’s a sincere performer, yet her sleepwalking style—walk, pose, smirk, smile—suggests Bo Peep views her audience as ticket-buying sheep. Suggestion: Have Coco act with more than her rack.

Artistically right now, Peepshow is a group grope between audience and performers, rather than a genuine bang (for your buck).

STRIP POSTSCRIPT: Before its corsage even wilted, The Awesome 80s Prom, the interactive flashback to that (not really) glorious milestone in teen lives at Miracle Mile Shops’ V Theater, has closed. Yet isn’t it nice knowing the prom-night climax high schoolers anticipate—the drunken sex fumble—happens every night in Strip hotel rooms? That show never closes.

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