Not so long ago, if you wanted to see the best topless show "in Vegas," you actually had to drive out to Primm to see Sin City Kitties at Whiskey Pete's. That down-market casino was home to a surprisingly large and plush showroom, and - in Kitties - it boasted a topless revue that was both classy and erotic.
Kitties, alas, is no more. It recently became another victim of the bad economy. In the meantime, Platinum Productions had set up a spinoff, Sin City Bad Girls, at the Las Vegas Hilton. And, by luck, Las Vegas' newest topless show (which debuted April 24) is also its best.
Unlike Kitties, which was classic burlesque, Bad Girls' emphasis is on rock- n-roll. In headliner Lorena Peril, it's got not only a vocalist of such star caliber that she can hold center stage, even when flanked by seven scantily clad dancers. Peril, familiar to Strip denizens as the Christina Aguilera impersonator from American Superstars, can rock with the best of them, growling out everything from Sting's "Roxanne" to several heavy metal standards.
Peril's no-holds-barred intensity and her remarkably flexible voice are those of a performer who deserves a showcase and, in Bad Girls, she's got it. Her nimble and good-humored repartee come in handy when, say, she's got to warm up a small and initially subdued Tuesday-night crowd. There's also a male vocalist/lead guitarist who alternates numbers with Peril -- but he offers her no run for her money.
Despite having considerably fewer resources (and less budget) than the much-ballyhooed Peepshow at Planet Hollywood, Bad Girls is by far the better production. Handed the small Shimmer Cabaret stage, director/choreographer Michael Chambers displays no shortage of creativity. The choreography is top flight and the ladies execute it with astonishing energy. The outstanding number is a delicate trapeze act featuring petite Eva Brammer (aka "Miss Veronica"), done with such skill it's the one time you'll forget that Lorena Peril's onstage, too.
For those who enjoyed the natural look of the Sin City Kitties troupe, it's a pleasure to report that only one of the Bad Girls dancers is obviously "enhanced." Talent aside, that's enough to set the new revue apart from Vegas' topless crowd. Medas & Co. have hit upon a winning formula. Most seats are first-come, first-served and in such an intimate venue there's scarcely a bad one in the house.
Sin City Bad Girls
Mon.-Sat., 9 p.m.
Las Vegas Hilton