Lay to rest any last lingering thoughts you might have had about Las Vegas marketing itself as a family destination — unless you’re talking about the Baldwin family. “Peepshow,” Jerry Mitchell’s sassy yet sexy show now on display at Planet Hollywood, serves as fair notice that the good old days (or bad old days, depending on your point of view) are back again. The crowd is younger than you used to see at these shows, a bit rowdier, a lot more testosterone-driven. This is Vegas as the home of every straight man’s dream bachelor party.
To be sure, “Peepshow” stumbled a bit out of the gate when it opened in April with Mel B (aka Scary Spice) and Kelly Monaco heading the bill and pasties adorning most of the ladies’ breasts.
But after a bit of shuffling, the show has found its footing, which is decidedly bare. Holly Madison, of Hugh Hefner and Chris Angel fame, is now front and center (in every sense of the word) with her 36D chest up there for all to ogle at, although it’s kept under wraps, as it were, until the final curtain.
Director-choreographer Mitchell (“Legally Blonde”) now allows his ladies to let it all hang out in many numbers and the general mood is one of playful concupiscence.
There’s a thread of plot, in which an innocent Bo-Peep (Madison) is initiated into the wonders of “love” (i.e. sex) by an all-knowing Peep Diva (Aubrey O’Day). The initiation takes the form of various fairy tales and it doesn’t take much imagination to conjure up the sexual acts Little Red Riding Hood or Jack and the Beanstalk might get involved in.
David Rockwell’s setting keeps swirling a series of candy-colored sex platforms in and out, while Gregg Barnes’ costumes make it look like Victoria doesn’t have many secrets left. Andrew Lippa (Broadway’s upcoming “The Addams Family”) has written original songs to supplement numbers by Madonna and Christina Aguilera. Is it a compliment to say it’s hard to tell them apart?
Mitchell’s staging is like a bigger, broader, more mainstream version of the shows he used to concoct for annual Gotham fundraiser bash “Broadway Bares,” with his usual witty choreography. But there’s more genuine eroticism here to keep the patrons happy.
Most of the audience have come to see Madison, calling out her name at random moments during the show and cheering wildly when she finally reveals her breasts in all their siliconed glory. As an 11 o’clock number, it’s not up there with “Rose’s Turn,” but Mitchell certainly knows what the audience wants, and with Madison having just signed a new year-long contract, it looks like “Peepshow” will keep providing it.