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A very different production with that same bawdy magic!

Jasmine Sim at the Can Can in
Zombie Cheerleaders Return.
Photo credit: Nate Watters

If you've been to the Can Can Culinary Cabaret, Dear Readers, you know pretty much what to expect. Amazing singers and dancers, high energy acrobatics, and loads of tantalizing flesh. You also expect to see Jonathan Betchtel, with his bawdy humor and gravity defying glutes, he's been a staple there as the emcee for the past 15 years. So, you can imagine my surprise when I attended their current production of "Zombie Cheerleaders Return" and Jonny was nowhere to be found, instead having the evening helmed by their resident chanteuse, Jasmine Sim. And while this resulted in a very different show than I was used to, it was no less delightful.

Without Jonny, and considering this was the "Return" of the Zombie Cheerleaders, the show was reconfigured a bit. Gone is the sensual steel caged duet between Betchtel and fellow staple, Shadou Mintrone, although Mintrone still slayed all us monsters with an incredibly fun and sexy solo routine on aerial straps. Also gone was much of the storytelling of a group of jocks and cheerleaders succumbing to a zombie outbreak. Instead, director Chris Pink and choreographer Fae Pink gave us a kind of "best of" numbers from the Zombie Cheerleaders oeuvre, all with a very spooky bend.

Newcomer Christopher Lopez swooned us with a sultry, yet, lusting for brains version of "Earth Angel" and certainly managed to fill the "gravity defying glutes" void. On hand for most numbers beyond that, he showed off his killer moves, shaking and twerking all that he's got to the delight of everyone.

Callan Moore, Richard Peacock and
Christopher Lopez at the Can Can in
Zombie Cheerleaders Return.
Photo credit: Nate Watters

Then there was the musclebound Richard Peacock who strutted his way through the slightly modified "When You're Good to Mummy" but also turned in a titillating zombified workout number filled with all the things that go bump and grind in the night. This is now my second time seeing Peacock after his turn in their last show, "Glitter Gala" and his exuberant, playful and sexy nature injects a new brand of spice to the Can Can stew.

Callan Moore lent her own lithe moves to the mix as she shook her ... um ... pom poms along with fellow cheerleaders Sim and Mintrone, as well as those hunky male cheerleaders, Lopez and Peacock. All of them clad in sparkly yet form fitting and tiny shorts and crop tops, keeping all those High School fantasies alive and well.

But it was Sim who had to lead them through the gore infested evening, and she did it with her own fabulous brand of humor and heart. And even though she said this was her first time, she handled it like a seasoned professional. Not only did she step in to lead us through the evening with style, but she still managed her own songstress duties including bringing down the house with a brilliantly torchy rendition of "Creep". Not that I want Betchtel gone by any stretch of the imagination, but Sim is perfectly capable of handling the gig and it made for a nice shake up of the show.

You can all probably guess why Betchtel was out and why some performances were cancelled last week but I've been assured that everyone is now testing negative and on the mend and will be back for their next show in November, "Masquerade". But for the remainder of this production, Sim will be on hand to make our evenings spooky, silly, and sexy. And so, with my three-letter rating system, I give Can Can's "Zombie Cheerleaders Return" a surprised but shouldn't have been, YAY+ (with that little extra + for Sim for killing on her first turn at Emcee). You want to gather up all your decaying body parts to catch this gruesome night. Oh, and feel better soon, Jonny!

"Zombie Cheerleaders Return" performs at the Can Can Culinary Cabaret through October 31st. For tickets or information visit them online at

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