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Blokes From Down Under, Steal Thunder From Chippendales' Yanks

June 28, 2012 at 6:25 PM | by | ()

We're going to bet more than a few VegasChatter readers will be buying tickets to see the new male stripper movie Magic Mike this weekend. How do we know? Well, our coverage of Joey Lawrence at Chippendales certainly proved one of our more successful stories. Lots of ladies "liked" it on Facebook. (You can, too, right here.)

The "Citizen Kane" of stripper movies is how they are promoting Channing Tatum as "Magic Mike." But, at Excalibur's Thunder from Down Under, Antipodean imports provide the interest over home grown talent.

For ten years they've been steadily chipping away at the much-better known Chippendales brand at Rio. Ten years merits some admiration for persistence in the Vegas scene. So, we'll provide a review (this time from the male perspective) and some insider tips to make your night with these Aussie blokes more, um, special.

First tip is to the gentlemen readers who've stuck with us, or to the ladies who wish to drag any men along. Guys: just go. We laughed harder than our night at the Laugh Factory. Imagine entering a secret domain of female fun. If offered the chance to see this show, just go. On our night, maybe five men tops braved the throngs, leaving a jammed house of 400 very enthusiastic gals having a great time. It's something to see just once. And, if you are questioning our bonafides, we reviewed the all-female revues of Jubilee!, X Burlesque and Dita Von Teese.

Now, we could only sneak some images of the outside and entrance to the theater, because, boy, do they not want you to take photos. They have staff in the audience making sure and also trying to keep ladies from getting up out of their seat and dancing in the aisles. They are less successful at that and the show is better for it. The entrance pretends it's a fancy boudoir you are entering, instead you'll discover a rather utilitarian theater.

Two permanent video screens flank the stage and one temporary screen is dropped in the middle when needed. The seating chart here highlights long tables. That's so the performers can frequently run along them and stand over you. Uh-huh.

At the side of the stage are two trampolines the blokes use to jump on and off the stage. Um, yeah. And they head out into the crowd a great deal. So lots of interaction. Lots.

The music begins with AC/DC's Thunderstruck, (Australian band and thunder, get it?) and it is a more hard rockin' show than Chippendales. But, there are some very similar similarities. A Michael Jackson "Smooth Criminal" number and a cowboy dance routine to Big & Rich's Save A Horse... (We've hidden the punchline.) Two locations -- two songs the same.

Apparently, women fantasize about blue-collar workers, 1930s gangsters and S.W.A.T. teams complete with guns with working laser attachments. It's an education, fellas. Those guns were probably the most expensive props in the show. The Chips gang goes in for bigger production numbers. They have vampires. The Down Under's have pirates and dry ice. And, a few swords. It's the thought that counts, right?

The audience, we'll say, was aged 21 to mid-60s. And, were way, way more enthusiastic than we witnessed at the Chippendales show. Rowdy, loud and not at all shy. When the M.C. requested the audience "handle with care," a few in the crowd might have missed the announcement. If you miss out on quality time during the night with the boys, you can pay for a photo shoot opportunity after the show. It proved equally popular.

Thunder is bawdy, maybe, unintentionally hilarious and very fast paced. Although, if you'd don't like the new fangled hippity-hoppity style dancing you might not be too thrilled. The cast were and seemed very into their job. We think they spotlight seven performers in the show, but we frankly couldn't always tell the differences in the dudes. It's a guy thing. (Need to know any minutiae regarding the Dita Von Teese's performance? We're your man.)

Pondering the choice between this show and Chippendales, we'd unequivocally say this one. Yeah, we're surprised, too. Over at Rio, they looked like they took themselves a little too seriously. Too self aware. Not at all inside Excalibur.

Now our top tip for ladies attending this revue is simple. Lie. Yes, pretend you and your friends are part of a bachlorette party. Get as many cheap crowns, brides sashes, boas, buttons, whatever. It'll secure you maximum interaction time with the performers. Not that they neglect other audience members. And, if you hold you arms out, they'll eventually come to you. Really. But, if you want extra attention, they do notice the soon-to-be brides.

And, if you are thinking of allowing yourself to be dragged up onto the stage, a final important tip -- think ahead to what you are wearing. Underneath. You'll thank us later.

Thunder From Down Under plays upstairs at the Excalibur. Times are Sunday to Thursday at 9 p.m. and Friday to Saturday at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. Ticket prices range from $40.95 to $60.95 plus the usual add-on fees.

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