As a production, they've invested money and energy. A dozen dancers, some large set props. A daring dancer mounted on a suspended horse saddle flies out over the front rows. A sports car appears at one point. A glass box is filled with milk and three dancers. And, Coco herself, debuts upside down, lowered down from the roof onto the stage. You get a big show, a polished cast and more thought than any strip show in Vegas. If you know what to expect, it will fulfill your expectations. Planet Hollywood's new promo video actually hits all the high notes. Except we think you'll see more Coco then Holly's tenure would have you believe.
Our opening night press seats were less than ten feet from the stage and, at times, Coco. She makes a couple of trips into the front row. You'll get a hint when you see very burly security position themselves nearby. She seemed totally at ease and enjoying the experience.
Occasionally looking for cues from her fellow performers, she nevertheless acted perfectly comfortable, whether dancing, flirting or disrobing. Listening to reports from audience members who'd seen earlier versions of the show, she's on stage much more than Holly Madison. Including topless time. It also appears that Coco gets the self aware, over-the-top nature of the show. She knows she's not auditioning for Shakespeare. And, our unscientific straw poll indicated they preferred Coco over Holly. Note, Bo Peep is not on stage all the time. Maybe 30% tops.
Peepshow never wavers. The dancers really know how to dance, the singers can belt with the best of them. And, Cheaza Figueroa as Peep Diva, the evening's narrator, is tougher and sassier than any Strip M.C. from Frank Marino to Don Rickles. She's the glue that holds the show together.
This writer has managed to avoid the Coco phenomena, other than seeing her in a "Law & Order: SVU" episode, so we can't say if her stage role has any relationship to her public persona. (We saw Ice T perform with Body Count back in 1992 so at least we've witnessed both side of this showbiz equation.) Not having tracked her career trajectory, we're unsure if her fan following will generate ticket sales. What we can say is a show like this deserves to stick around, falling into the "only in Vegas" bizarre fun category. So, if you are Coco-curious, you won't be disappointed by this latest incarnation.
(PHOTOS/VIDEO: Coco on Facebook, VegasChatter, Peepshow)