Las Vegas Sun

November 19, 2018

Currently: 56° — Complete forecast

Transfusion enlivens ‘Bite’ at Stratosphere Theater of the Stars

The topless musical "Bite" has been largely revamp-ired since it premiered at the Stratosphere in September.

Pumping new blood into the offbeat Gothic tale about vampires has greatly improved the production, a creation of writer/producer/director/ music arranger Tim Molyneux.

The musical was a mess before extensive dental work was performed on "Bite."

(Pardon me if I'm going pun crazy.)

Toning down some parts of the production, simplifying others, adding a few songs, smoothing out the storyline and making a few other changes has created an enjoyable evening of adult entertainment for both men and women.

While the previous version of the production had some continuity problems, there are none with this seamless remake.

The energetic musical has found a rhythm that flows effortlessly from the opening number (Guns 'N Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle") to the last (Judas Priest's "Living After Midnight").

Antonio Restivo is the show's new Lord Vampire, and he clearly relishes his fanged role as king of a coven of gorgeous vampires. He does an excellent job of hamming it up as he plays with fire and performs some magic tricks that demonstrate he is all-powerful.

Restivo adds a dark, sinister atmosphere to the stage as he sits at his throne and watches the erotic routines of the eager vampires competing for his attention.

The premise of the story is that the Lord Vampire is looking for a new Queen of the Night. There are six candidates, who perform for him in groups and individually during the course of the evening.

It is a simple tale of bare breasts and ambition.

There is no dialogue in "Bite." The story is told through action, dance and the use of some classic rock 'n' roll songs -- more than 40 in all.

The songs that have been selected to further the storyline are clever, among them "Hot Blooded" (Foreigner), "Welcome to My Nightmare" (Alice Cooper), "Man Eater" (Hall and Oates), "Born to be Wild" (Steppenwolf) and "Love Bites" (Def Leppard).

The story opens with six exotic vampires in sexy leather costumes performing an erotic routine that may be as hot as any in town. By the second number, they have exposed more than their fangs to an appreciative audience.

Choreographers Mick Thompson, Gary Thomas, Dar Brzezinski and Sarah Fazio have done an outstanding job with this talented troupe of dancers. The troupe includes Jennifer Quinlan-Vitello (dance captain), Tara Palsha, Jennifer Harvey, Kymberly Clifton, Marcy Fox and Kelly Jo Millaudon (who also performs a breathtaking silk aerial routine).

The husband and wife aerialist team of Cees de Kok and Cathy Perquin have been given larger roles in the 2005 version of "Bite," and they take full advantage of the opportunity to expand the cameos they once had.

Amy Everitt goes through a sensual transformation, from your more-or-less average girl next door to the newly selected queen who is as torrid as her underlings. It would have been nice to have seen more of her during the evening.

One of the highlights of the production is a performance by vocalist Mark Giovi, an incredible singer who is equally at ease with rock, R&B, blues and the standards. He is a welcome addition.

The only live songs of the night were those sung by Giovi. Otherwise, all of the music was on tape.

Although he only sings three songs, including Van Morrison's "Moondance," Giovi is a real crowd-pleaser.

One of my original complaints about the production was that it took itself too seriously and needed to lighten up.

The new "Bite" is a lighter one and the cast seems to be having a lot more fun, which makes the evening more enjoyable for the fans and gives them a show they can sink their teeth into.