Given recent reviews just swapping one sex show for another—or “erotic revues,” as their PR mavens insist—a column title change is mandatory.
Leering, panting and drooling our way through Peepshow, Crazy Girls and iCandy Burlesque brings us to Shades of Temptation, New York-New York’s new showcase for topless writhing and wriggling. Positioning itself as Zumanity’s hot little sister at the Broadway Theater, the late-night Temptation is a worthy enough entry in the Strip’s sex-show sweepstakes, even if we could do without an audience moan-along to the recording of an orgasmic woman.
Overhead videos of early-20th-century strippers, sexed up by cathouse jazz, primes us for host/singer David Hernandez, the 12th-place finisher on Season 7 of American Idol. After generic Vegas intro patter—where ya from? Belgium!—Temptation commences the tempting with the standard cheesecake/beefcake balance: a cast of limber, well-proportioned ladies and a pair of chiseled, shirtless dudes.
Add the ooh-la-la accouterments: hot pink/sultry blue/lewd purple lighting, smoke, throbbing dance-club singles and well-sung Hernandez solos, including “Sign Your Name Across My Heart” and “Lovesong” as gals drape themselves over him.
Many numbers are just stimulating gyrations, performers provocatively intertwined—interpretive dance set to sex—but enough imaginative pieces goose the group gropes. “School of Sex” is a bright romp spotlighting four lasses as schoolgirls. Seducing a prancing male teacher, they yank his pants down, revealing ass-less chaps, triggering ripples of giggles. Another features a maid impishly helping her wealthy “matron” undress, rife with exaggerated expressions and sly winks to the crowd.
Particularly entertaining is a soused stripper billed as “Fifi L’Amore” who comically staggers through a routine as the guy flashing her billing card struggles to keep her vertical. Phallic imagery (’natch) pops up when women wiggle while waving cigars. S&M (double-’natch) cameos in a number replete with mini-whips, leather masks and caged cuties. During a dance break, Hernandez does coax us to moan our best oh-baby-feels-so-gooood groans as the recorded love bunny outdoes us with Donna Summer-esque rapture. (Our imitations of lustful abandon this night sounded like we all had a mild flu.)
While this latest riff on The Breast Capades attains no new heights on the T&A-o-meter, it’s visually creative enough to sustain interest beyond merely ogling the goods. Shades of Temptation should send tourists (and frisky locals) back to their rooms aroused to greater exclamations of ecstasy than they muster in the theater.
Rethinking this, though, let’s shift back to the original column title of Showstopper because there’s more to life and show biz than sex … isn’t there?
STRIP POSTSCRIPT: Perhaps not. Yet another family show—assuming you’re an apple-cheeked clan favoring paddles and pain for pleasure’s sake—opens for a Nov. 1-10 run at the Rio. Introducing: Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody. Yes, kiddies, it’s based on EL James’ “literary” best-seller, Fifty Shades of Grey, highlighting S&M themes. Dialogue? We’re thinking: “Kneel!” … “Crawl!” … “Pick up my dry-cleaning!”