Friday, Dec. 7, 2001 | 9:23 a.m.
If Charo doesn't have a long stay on the Strip, Las Vegas should relinquish its title of "Entertainment Capital of the World" to Branson, Mo.
Charo and this city are a perfect fit -- all glamour, glitz and perpetual motion.
Charo Entertainment, in concert with John Stuart's On Stage Entertainment, have created a fun, high-energy Latin revue called "Bravo," playing at The Venetian Showroom.
The 1,100-seat venue, however, is a mine field. It's the same place where the highly talented singer Robert Goulet bombed earlier this year, unable to draw enough fans to offset the exorbitant cost of putting on a classy show that included an 18-piece orchestra.
Hopefully, Stuart can avoid the mines. He certainly understands showmanship, having made a successful career out of "Legends in Concert," a national franchise that showcases entertainers who imitate such legends as Elvis and Cher.
But Charo, the Spanish bombshell who made the phrase "cuchi-cuchi" famous, is the real thing.
She's a stick of dynamite, exploding onstage with a supporting cast that seems to have been given a "cuchi-cuchi" transfusion -- everyone exudes a level of zeal that leaves an observers feel as if they has been in a marathon by the time the show closes with a carnival at the end of 90 minutes.
Although Charo is only onstage about a third of the time, her presence is felt throughout.
Her team of Latin dancers helps create a breathless show that races along at lightning speed, performing flawlessly to the sounds of samba, salsa and flamenco music.
Comedians Mario & Daniel, brothers who came to Las Vegas from Argentina more than 20 years ago, are a major part of the show and provide sometimes-hilarious comic relief from the dancing and music. Their timing, crafted practically since birth, is perfect. They alone are almost worth the price of admission.
But make no mistake, this is Charo's show.
All of the things she is most famous for are there onstage -- her self-effacing comedy, her pleasing singing voice and her risque persona that seems to be on the verge of bursting out of her clinging costumes at any moment.
But there is an added attraction to this show: Charo exhibits her tremendous talent as a classic guitarist, one of the best in the world.
As a rule, December is a slow month for the entertainment industry in Las Vegas. In a business where timing is everything, hopefully Charo and On Stage weren't overly optimistic in debuting their show at a time when audiences sometimes are hard to come by.
Given enough time the dynamic "cuchi-cuchi" girl could become an icon for Las Vegas, similar to Wayne Newton and Siegfried and Roy. And given enough time, word about Charo should spread -- and the word is "Bravo."