Years ago, a friend declared to me: “When you’ve seen two breasts, you’ve seen them all.” Yes, he was gay. No, I don’t share his nonchalance as a life philosophy.
Even so, when you’re a Vegas critic reviewing the topless show industry—yes, it’s an industry—fatigue sets in when so many productions seem to expect that the mere sight of blessed female flesh can excuse rote, predictable grinding. Such was the fear—unfounded, fortunately—that preceded a visit to Sexxy, the bare-boobie newbie with the excess “x” at the Westgate’s Shimmer Cabaret.
Sexxy features its creator, Vegas dance vet Jennifer Romas, who’s as courageous as she is gorgeous as she’s reportedly playing hurt, still nursing injuries sustained in an onstage fall during the short-lived iCandy Burlesque. Yet what she’s done with Sexxy is develop a show that, while it conceptually varies little from the standard form, purrs with a deeper, sultrier sensuality.
Wisely, Romas assigns hottie hostess duties to rock singer Gabriella Versace of the band Nitro—and former star of steamy Erocktica at the Rio—who contributes a personality as formidable as her pipes (and who does doff her top at one point). When she goes all Joss Stone on bluesy belter “It’s a Man’s World” and “I Put a Spell On You,” we know the musical component is more intriguing than the predictable dance-club pummelers of these shows’ traditional recorded soundtracks.
What we’re surprisingly spared are token male bump-and-grinders often inserted as a demographic leveler to attract couples, but who more often drain steam from a production built on female hotness. Also happily missing is a comic, which is usually a mid-show breather for the ladies, but also disrupts the sexy stride. Clearing the decks of those distractions, Romas lets Sexxy ramp up momentum.
On the surface, Sexxy falls into some hackneyed traps, musically and conceptually: the way overused “Hey Big Spender” and “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend”; the Sapphic tease; the cowgirls; the stripper pole gyrations; the bathtub splish-splash; the silk-rope climb to the ceiling; the drag-the-audience-dude-onstage shtick, etc. Yet Romas’ choreography makes much of it feel fresh. While blazingly hot, it’s less in your face than in your head. Playfulness and tease suffuse the moves of her attractive dancers—they’re primarily seductresses rather than bombshells—and we feel just as wooed as we do wowed.
Setting the vibe herself, Romas writhes around the pole to “Feeling Good,” seemingly fusing with it, so supple is her body and so subtle is her technique—or as subtle as gymnastics on a stripper pole allows. Ditto Romas in the tub.
Production values are kept basic: On a stage curtained off behind them, the ladies enter and exit through an opening in the middle, and as usual, you can make of that unsubtle imagery exactly what they want you to. Thankfully, it’s one of the few obvious elements of Sexxy. (That, and a red-lips couch Romas slithers across.)
With its reliance on the seductive arts, sexy is as Sexxy does.
Got an entertainment tip? Email Steve.Bornfeld@VegasSeven.com.