GASP! … What, it’s not sex stuff? Hey, there’s always the naked breasts.
Mammaries augment magic in the Plaza’s new Centerfolds of Magic, a topless-magician late show hosted by ex-Penthouse Pet/VH1 Rock of Love Bus winner/ex-Striptease-at-the-Sahara dancer/hot-as-hell babe Taya Parker. … Plus eight assistant breasts attached to four supporting conjurers.
Centerfolds is co-produced and directed by John Lewis—whose previous attempt at this genre, starring his onetime paramour, “Princess of Magic” Scarlett (Rachel Jessee), devolved into a lurid backstage imbroglio with Scarlett arrested for misdemeanor battery against him.
No drama here, as Lewis concocts a show with sexy potential, if (pardon the expression) they tighten the screws.
Erotic revue-meets-abracadabra, Centerfolds benefits from Parker as MC/magician, and more than just anatomically. Personable, her wit tinged with sarcasm, she charms and needles the crowd with assured stage presence and refreshing forthrightness. “I just show my vagina for a living,” says the frequently nude model with a cheerful shrug. (No, she doesn’t show it here.) Wow-worthy magic? More Magic 101, but given its goal—a sexy, small-scale show with a twist elevating it beyond a gawk-fest—it’s not competing on a Criss Angel/Penn & Teller level.
Card tricks, levitating magic wands, disappearing/reappearing performers and shuffled body parts in movable boxes are part of the erotic ensemble’s standard playbook. Three feats, though—one gal crawling through turbine blades, another sawed in half in a mostly clear case and Houdini’s nifty water-tank switcheroo climaxing with two wet, topless hotties dripping onstage—are attention-getters. Sprinkled throughout is generous gyrating, including in sensual zombies and tigress-with-a-whip bits. Highlights are two lengthy segments of shtick by pop-culture-parodying pantomimist Joe Trammel, a hurricane of visual inventiveness. Possibly the planet’s quickest quick-change performer, he’s vastly more entertaining than stand-up comics usually used as a change-up for audiences and timeout for the ladies. Busty burlesque dancer Vanna Lace also pops up, doing her comic twirl with a pervy old-man mannequin.
Yet Centerfolds’ flow and timing need fixing. Clunky segment transitions, dead spots and ear-bleed music (by Imagine Dragons, Neon Trees and Maroon 5) are distracting but fixable.
Centerfolds of Magic isn’t the best magic-show bet, but it’s the only breast bet. That’s an intriguing trick—and treat.
STRIP POSTSCRIPT: Break-dancing over to the Luxor, JabbaWockeeZ debut their new production, PRiSM, on May 18. On May 23, Cirque du Soleil’s King-of-Pop concoction, Michael Jackson ONE, begins previews at Mandalay Bay, officially premiering on June 29. Input those into your iPhone, or jot them in your datebook if you’re a caveman, which provides our segue to … Defending the Caveman star Kevin Burke is retiring his loin-clothed, gender-war riff, the last of his 3,000-plus Vegas performances set for May 13 at Harrah’s. Second City improv comic Chris Allen takes over May 14, with updated props, video and lighting highlighting the next-gen Caveman.
Now that prehistorically cheesy ditty is running through my noggin: “Open the door, get on the floor, everybody walk the dinosaur (boom-boom-acka-lacka-boom-boom).”
Who’s the next Strip performer you’d like to see stripped? Tell us in the comments or email your pick to Steve.Bornfeld@VegasSeven.com.