WELCOME TO CHIPPENDALES! Hummers In The Dressing Room
What the show runner and director(s) MIGHT have had in mind for "Welcome to Chippendales" is a thriller covered by the stratification of the sexual revolution, cocaine express, and nightclub explosions of the 80s.
What they gave us was a parody of all the above.
"Welcome to Chippendales" is the equivalent of a 300 page novel that flies off the shelves because it has a great title and a fab cover. The show is all dessert and no dinner.
But we all love dessert.
Steve Banerjee is an ambitious Indian (Dots. Not Feathers.) immigrant whose goal is to open a Backgammon Club because "There isn't one."
It lands with a tremendous thud, as the idea and sparse crowds remind us of every President House Plant rally (ahem) from 2020. Enter Paul Snider and Dorothy Stratten, and I am NOT making that up. In a preposterous collision of contemporaries, the doomed Playmate of the Year and her psychotic husband stumble onto the club and through a series of ridiculous coincidences (Stand by for more) the idea for a male strip club is born after a visit by Dorothy, Paul, and Steve to a gay disco.
Despite the veneer thin story-line, the performances are just this side of outstanding, and that is a genuine compliment.
Juliette Lewis, as the clubs costume designer and resident skank, is an actress who just gets better with age . . . not better looking, mind you.
Annaleigh Ashford, the Broadway Superstar, is the show's scene stealer, chewer, and regurgitator, but man is she great.
Dan Stevens is the best Paul Snider since Eric Roberts. That's a lie. The former Downton Abbey star, and yet another noble man ensnared by Lady Mary, is uber-creepy AND better than Eric Roberts as the murdering scum. Ya wonder what he's like in real life. But what a change from Matthew in the PBS series.
Murray Bartlett, the Chippendale choreographer (And a REAL PERSON), is the club's conflicted creative force. He is the lynchpin for the death spiral of . . . not giving it away.
And Kumail Nunjiani, is the oiliest and most despicable purveyor of firm, young flesh since Hugh Hefner. Oddly, Hefner is Steve Banerjee's idol.
"Welcome to Chippendales" is an amusement park ride. Exciting AND nauseating.