Friday, May 28, 1999 | 10:50 a.m.
The emcee announced the evening would be a celebration of man, but really it was a the celebration of women, as washboard-stomached young hunks ground their pelvises and flipped their way through a 90-minute show wearing hardly more than a smile.
The "Thunder from Down Under" takes throngs of women of all ages -- and some men -- through an innocently tantalizing strip show. It plays Wednesdays through Sundays in the Conference Center Ballroom at the Stardust through June 13.
The fun begins when the eight muscled men saunter onstage in tailored suits, gently bumping to the beat of a slow and soulful version of the Tina Turner classic "Proud Mary."
At a performance earlier this week, the crowd audibly gasped at each exaggerated movement and hinted, teasing gesture. The lads on stage smiled sweetly, though slightly stilted in their performance, but endearingly shy.
Then the lights brightened, the music thumped harder and the "Thunder" from ... well, who cares where, began to roll.
These men cater to the audiences' fantasies: There's Romeo, who softly sways and grinds to a love ballad before taking off his knight garb and showing true skill with gymnastic flips and spins across the stage.
He bounds into the audience, to the thrilled cheer of a few hundred women. He chooses one to join him onstage, softly setting her on a pedestal, lip-syncing to her and grinding as she gleefully glides her hands over his muscular, G-stringed body.
Each dancer takes his turn in the spotlight with a musical montage of songs and characters playing to the romantic desires and hearts of women, with songs including Bryan Adams' "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman," before rocking out to one that pulls the audience out of its chairs to dance: "Two Tribes" by Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
A hilarious rendition of the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" gives the show a liberal dose of humor, and each Aussie mate brings a bit of comedy to his act. The show, while not big on production, showcases each dancers' strengths and abilities. Surprisingly, there is talent rippling beneath those muscles.
A raucous table of middle-aged women clapped and encouraged dancer Adam West to sidle over to their table, where they proceeded to rub him all over like a puppy when he laid across their laps.
By the end of the evening, women were standing on their chairs, enjoying a night out of good, clean, risque fun, but were not ready to come down from the pedestal these beautiful men placed them on.