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A Decade Of Stripping On The Strip For X Burlesque

Where: 3555 Las Vegas Blvd. South [map], 89109
April 20, 2012 at 6:29 PM | by | ()

A "remastered" X Burlesque is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary at the Flamingo's Bugsy's Cabaret room. That's a cheeky bit of selective marketing as technically its 10 years of performances on The Strip. It only arrived at the Flamingo in 2007. Most male audience members will be fine to let that bit of data slip on by. It's also not a complete re-master, more one of the many upgrades and change-ups in songs and routines that have helped the show stick it out on The Strip for a decade.

A topless show can be forgiven for a little dramatic licensing in its publicity. Provocative enticement comes with the territory. Yet, the current incarnation seems anything but tired and resting on its reputation.

Placed somewhere between the higher production values of Peepshow, the choreographed precision of Crazy Horse Paris and pinched bits and pieces from the world of neo-burlesque, X Burlesque is a fast-paced, room-shaking show that might work very well if you're in the mode for some R-rated Vegas entertainment.

There are nods to Dita Von Teese (woman in a martini glass), Sally Rand (large feathers) and Crazy Horse Paris (synchronized, colorful group dancing). It's telling of the changes in Las Vegas nightlife over the decade that X Burlesque has been in business, that you'll actually see many of the same synced moves and grooves with ladies with canes at Marquee. And, a bath routine plays out nightly at Tao for all club-goers. Nevertheless, they aren't as uncovered as you'll see on this stage.

Bugsy's is an unusual space. The two sides of the room don't face the stage, but rather a stripper pole in the middle. So you'll be turning your head right or left to watch the main stage. It's also quite small, maybe 180 seats. The simple stage uses a video screen and steps that lead down into the audience. There's not a huge amount of interacting with the customers, but they do get up close. Two other video screens run thematic video clips during the dances and certain set pieces are previewed with titles like, "Hot Mess," "Drop It," and "Sugar Daddy". Strip club references dressed up in a theatrical fashion.

The music selections can get as heavy as Korn and veer off into a bit of country and Christina Aguilera. They try to keep the tunes up to date. You will hear Led Zeppelin, but the show starts with the aggressive cover of Zep's "Immigrant Song" from the 2011 soundtrack to "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo." All the music is prerecorded, though, but lip syncing is kept to a minimum and makes sense. No one is pretending to be really singing.

There's no physical uniformity to the X-Girls unlike Crazy Horse Paris at MGM. Each performer keeps her own identity. It works in the show's favor.

Some of the cast are allowed to showcase their obvious athletic and acrobatic strengths. One pole dance features a Cirque quality move. You'd be surprised. Segments are quick, change over rapidly and try to add variety. At 90 minutes with no intermission, it's a little longer than probably necessary. A comedian breaks up the halfway mark with the usual tired Vegas-themed gags, maybe a couple of zingers, nothing to write home about.

The second half does feels a little more energized. But, the show as a whole, is all about variety. Routines with guitars, props, a bathtub set-piece created using frozen tableau while stage lights are turned on and off. In contrast to that theatricality, you'll also get a farm-hand, boot-scooting dance to country music. It even snows on the audience at one point. Something for everyone. The back-bone of of X Burlesque is visualizing a multitude of role-playing fantasies.

On the media night showing that we witnessed, it was clearly the women in the audience that audibly enjoyed the show. It also seemed that they had been enjoying a few drinks. That notion may also help enhance your experience. In contrast, the gentlemen in the crowd looked transfixed with stoic attention during most of the acts.

The bottom line of X Burlesque's 21st century variant on the topless review, is to actually cut out the art of stripping. There's very little in the way of slow reveal. While its not aggressively vulgar, it's also often not always the most subtle of productions.

Around town, there are plenty of coupons available for trimming down your ticket price. The show rips along at a vibrant pace and if you know what you are getting into, you'll probably not be disappointed. It's not a strip club and it's not a nude version of Cirque. The women give it all they've got and they look like they are genuinely having fun. Most visitors will have seen ads for the show and not even registered that it runs at the Flamingo. Celebrating a decade of constant performances is a good testament that under the radar, its been working away, selling tickets and delivering some old-school, adult Vegas entertainment.

X Burlesque performs nightly at the Flamingo at 10 p.m. Tickets are $44.95.

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