When you check out the Belmont Burlesque Revue, don't forget to BYOB. I did, and that was poor judgment according to the guy in the tux with the microphone because I'd have no buffer between me and the show that was about to BLOW MY MIND. Then four sirens in fishnets shimmied out and shook their near-bare bon-bons dangerously close to my sober face. They teased and winked and wriggled and rocked their pasties with aplomb. Hoots ensued and hollers followed. My mind didn't blow exactly, but I admit I blushed a little bit.
Allow me to introduce the Belmont Bombshells: Titi Touche, Paris Green, Naughty Natanya, Lady Anabelle and Ms. Pixi. Once a month at midnight these girls take over the low-lit stage at the Playground Theater to titillate rowdy crowds with some old-school bump-n-grind. Whether slowly shedding a skimpy fireman getup or peeling back velvet gloves and evening gowns, the Bombshells prove that coquettish fun beats pole-grinding sleaze for sexy any day.
"Man of the Hour" Jack Midnight (Mark Henderson, the guy in the tux) emcees the event. When he's not introducing the girls, serenading the guests with surprisingly good standards or taking slugs from a bottle of Jim Beam, he's insulting dimwitted stagehand Second Cousin Joe (Chris Biddle). In reality, both are seasoned improv vets who trade boozy patter and zingers with perfect timing like a low-rent Martin and Lewis.
Billed as the longest consecutively running burlesque show in Chicago, the troupe attracts a rotating roster of vaudevillian talent from around the city. Variety acts ham it up between routines, including The Amazing Tomas, who peppers his impressive close-up magic with awful puns, and funnyman Jared Logan, who brought tears to my eyes despite my missing buzz. A few of the numbers could stand a touch of polish (Ziegfeld Follies it ain't), but overall the troupe's charm and salacious enthusiasm make it well worth the price of admission.