Hard to call it classy—peeling off one of those streamers after it lands on your shoulder in the audience is vaguely creepy. Yet the Riviera’s Crazy Girls, now celebrating a quarter-century of follow-the-bouncing-boobs, is unpretentiously—and refreshingly—classic. On a T&A scale, comparing the relatively modest Crazy Girls to, say, the wildly inflated Peepshow—recently reviewed here with its imminent headliner switch—is like comparing a natural rack to silicone balloons.
Unapologetically low-rent, Crazy Girls remembers its ties to, if not Old Vegas, at least Older Vegas, its cozy showroom fostering an intimacy that puts the sex in a sex show. Opening to the majestic swells of the 2001: A Space Odyssey theme telegraphs its butt-cheeky attitude. Sex here isn’t a mystical life force (à la Zumanity) or the “art of the nude” (à la just-closed Crazy Horse Paris). Mercifully, it doesn’t foist a story on us—no fairy-tale naïf discovering her inner nymph (à la Peepshow). Crazy Girls just wants to sex us up. And does.
Going topless 10 minutes in with a cast of luscious—and elastic—young ladies, it puts us in a burlesque mood as the gals lip-sync and pole-twirl to sexy-funny staples “Ya Gotta Have Boobs,” “I Need a Cowboy to Ride My Pony” and “How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Love You When You Know I’ve Been a Liar All My Life?” Slow, sensually danced solo numbers nicely shift the pace. Yet effects meant to enhance that vibe—particularly the backlit, red-triangle projections that rip off Crazy Horse and obscure the action—are a chintzy tease for a show whose strength is in-your-face flesh.
Comic relief—from whom we eventually need relief—comes from Tony Douglas, a 90-mph talker with a rim-shot routine whose shtick swings from Borscht Belt one-liners to magic bits with bemused audience members coaxed onstage. Pulling playing cards from his fly fits the show’s spirit, but his breathless style grows wearying.
Raunchiness gets raunchier—and funnier—in an S&M-flavored number with the poetic lyrical refrain of “Fuck Me!” Climaxing the carnal high jinks is the phallic frolic as a frisky lass gyrates around The Package to “Whatever Lola Wants,” an amusing perversion of an American standard. Tastelessly terrific.
Representing opposite ends of the sex-show spectrum, Crazy Girls and Peepshow both trade in topless titillation, but with differing ambitions. Fancying itself a mini-Broadway musical, Peepshow merely dazzles your eyes. Crazy Girls, aiming only for an artistically superior strip show, actually stirs your loins.
STRIP POSTSCRIPT: Consider it Madame Tussauds’ Madge of Honor: Madonna has been inducted into the Venetian museum, the wax figure inspired by her Super Bowl performance earlier this year, debuting to coincide with her Oct. 13-14 MGM Grand performances. Hasn’t the Immaterial Girl vowed to publicly strip naked if President Obama wins re-election? Please, Madame T: Keep the clothes on the fake. Send the real one to the Riviera, where she can climb atop a giant phallus—and sing “Like a Virgin.”