Revamped X Burlesque Still Does Wriggle-Jiggle Right

Photo by Edison Graff

Photo by Edison Graff

Showstopper” is the name on the column logo. Lately, that’s been code for “Clothes Shedder.” (No, I don’t mean me. I write this column in a parka and fur-lined long johns.)

After back-to-back reviews of shows starring revealing fronts—Men the Experience and Pin Up—indulge us one final time (“final” being a highly flexible word) for the concluding chapter in the Showstopper Flesh Fest 2014 Trilogy. That brings us to X Burlesque, the Flamingo’s refreshed flesh fling celebrating its 12th anniversary, and still capable of setting off an erotic depth-charge.

After the signature opening—Maurice Chevalier’s recording of “Thank Heaven for Little Girls,” both adorable and vaguely creepy in this context—the X Burlesque dancers hit the stage. Seven minutes and 13 seconds tick away before Bare Breasts One and Two (plus Three and Four, and Five and Six, and Seven and Eight, and Nine and 10) make their appearance. Both the ladies and their “ladies” are in impeccable form. (What it says about me that I actually timed that, I’d rather not know.)

X Burlesque breaks no new ground in this genre, but it has honed it to a near flawless formula by practicing Sexy Salesmanship 101.

While certain numbers are cliché-squared for these shows, X Burlesque makes one of the most overused, “(Hey), Big Spender” (a show tune older than most of the audience), into a dynamic shout-out to primo burlesque thanks to the sheer brassiness of the delivery. Splashing around in a giant cocktail glass to “Fever,” another stripper-show staple, exudes a nearly Zumanity-like sensuality.

Flapper-style choreography gives the instrumental intro to Chicago’s “All That Jazz” a jolt of retro electricity. Behind a painted “hot box,” upside-down gals have their protruding, scissor-kicking gams caressed by right-side-up gals, generating a kind of geometric sexiness. And that old favorite from the skin-and-grin playbook, the Sapphic-themed cavorting between intertwined ladies in a tub, enjoys an extra layer of eroticism via violet mood lighting rolling over them in waves, forcing us to squint to see their shadowy figures—and feeling naughtily voyeuristic.

Deploying music from Brit band Touch and Go ramps up the sexual forthrightness, including the ah-hell-let’s-just-screw philosophy of “Straight … to Number One” and a dancer strutting and lip-synching to “Would You …?” (Featuring this female voiceover: “I’ve noticed you’re around / I find you very attractive/ Would you go to bed with me?”)

Pole dances punctuate the production, as well as a multimedia component of videos and flashing segment titles (“Now or Never,” “Cake and Eat It Too,” “Sweet and Innocent,” etc.). Comic John Bizarre is reasonably amusing—particularly riffing about conning cops at traffic stops—while the flesh fest takes a mid-show rest.

After 12 years, X Burlesque is still a wet dream with a soundtrack. Or if you prefer a more tasteful rephrasing—a nocturnal emission with auditory accompaniment.

Go ahead, producers: I dare you to use that as a poster blurb. Make that a double dare, since this show’s featured attractions come in twos.

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