At a Glance
What is it?
Lots of hot, hunky guys taking off (most of) their clothes in elaborately staged fantasy fulfillment sketches (think cowboys) while an audience of (mostly) women goes insane.
Where is it?
At a nightclub style theater at Rio Las Vegas, just off The Strip.
Is it worth the cost?
If you want to see guys taking their clothes off, then sure.
Why should I see this show?
Do I really need to say it? Because you want to see guys taking their clothes off!
What else do I need to know?
Men are allowed in the audience and it can actually be quite a hoot to watch the ladies go nuts for these guys (although you may feel the need to go to the gym afterward).
What’s the bottom line?
I’m going to resist making a “bottom” line joke here. I swear I am.
The Chippendales dancers are probably the most famous slabs of beefcake in the world, having entertained (mostly female) audiences since 1979. Their signature cuffs and bow ties are as much of a cultural touchstone as Playboy’s bunny ears.
But in this day and age where you can see as much skin as you want on the Internet and television, are acts like Chippendales still relevant? Do women really need this kind of bump and grind, peek-a-boo fantasy parade the way they did before you could see “the full Monty” and more online? Judging by the audience reaction when I saw the show, the answer is a resounding yes.
The space at The Rio is part showroom, part nightclub with a big lounge space out front and an equally big bar designed, I’m guessing, to eliminate whatever inhibitions the female audience members may have left before going into the actual showroom.
Once you’ve taken your seat in the big black box of a room you have two basic choices: try to scream louder and make more of a spectacle of yourself than the women who stopped at the bar or sit quietly and be amused by same. I chose the latter option, for the record.
I mention this, not as an indictment against the people in attendance, but rather as a cautionary tale for anyone with an overdeveloped sense of propriety and decorum. Granted, if you are one of those people you probably wouldn’t be coming to see Chippendales in the first place but just in case you feel obligated because your cousin Linda wants to have her bachelorette party there, you should just accept the fact that you’re going to be shocked by the behavior of the other women around you.
Because ultimately, the Chippendales dancers want you to be shocking. The rules of social engagement officially stop at the doors to the theater and this becomes the ultimate testing ground for the city’s one-time catch phrase, redone for these purposes as “What happens in the Chippendales showroom stays in the Chippendales showroom.”
The show features lots of special effects, some high-tech staging, loud (really loud) music, evocative fantasy fulfillment sketches (construction workers, cowboys, etc.), and fairly decent choreography that most of the guys keep up with if not necessarily excel at. There are a couple of honest to g-string dancers tucked in and amongst the beefcake and these guys were razor sharp in their execution of the dance moves.
You also get some familiar faces if you can tear your eyes away from the bodies long enough to catch them. The two guys who appeared on a season of “The Amazing Race” are regularly featured as are the occasional celebrity guest host. Past participants have included Ian Ziering of “90210” and “Sharknado” fame (infamy?) and Jeff Timmons of the group 98 degrees.
But you don’t care about all that. You just want to know if the guys are hot and how much of their clothes they take off. The answers: yeah and a lot, respectively. You’ll see everything except for the aforementioned Monty, which is not legal to show in Las Vegas just in case you’re wondering. There’s someone for just about every taste, from the Latin lover to the long-haired rocker, so long as perfectly toned and impossibly handsome are the base lines from which you are starting.
There is a certain amount of over-processed rigidity in the show’s structure.
Wait. Can I say rigidity in a review of Chippendales?
Everything seems very carefully timed and placed, essentially eliminating the “anything can happen” vibe a real strip show should have. The similarly low-body-fat dancers at Thunder from Down Under seem to have a more raucous, good humor about the whole thing but with that you have to trade off better production values and overall execution so it’s up to you.
By the way, men are allowed in the audience but you’re going to be vastly outnumbered.
So ladies, this is all about you. Go, enjoy, be crazy, and then return to your mates with a wide Cheshire grin on your face while refusing to answer any questions. Remember – it stays in the Chippendales theater.