Gordie Brown is immensely talented. As one of three headlining impressionists in Las Vegas (the others are the previously reviewed Terry Fator — who uses puppets — and Vegas mainstay Danny Gans — who will be reviewed here tomorrow) he has earned a loyal fan base that sees him repeatedly.
An actor and artist (he began as an editorial cartoonist for a newspaper in his native Canada) Brown first drew notice here in 2004 when he was chosen in the course of a reality show called The Casino to play the showroom at the Golden Nugget (hence, the billing, "Downtown" Gordie Brown). He moved uptown on The Strip to The Venetian for awhile and, when the tanking economy caused his show to close, he went on tour with Céline Dion. Now, he's back at the Nugget.
Brown is also immensely engaging. Watching him you just know he's a nice guy. And, unlike most others who do what he does Brown does it differently — he might impersonate Tom Jones and sing Delilah (in Las Vegas, at least, they all seem to do Tom Jones and sing Delilah) but he puts in his own words to the music.
Among the multitude of people Brown brings onstage are Bono, Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay, Green Day, Michael Bolton plus all the usual suspects one might find at such a show. But Brown, who is a funny guy, does it all a breakneck speed ("I have ADD," he notes — probably a correct diagnosis) that sometimes makes it difficult for the audience to keep up.
One of the best routines brings Jack Nicholson, Robert DeNiro, Clint Eastwood, Al Pacino and Jim Carrey together for a game of golf....it's both funny and spot-on.
Brown's show is quite different from those of other impressionists. For example, there's a cell phone commercial in which "Tom Petty" sings Free Phonin'. Coldplay's bit is a theme from Brokeback Mountain (clever, yes; current, no). You don't see those every day. Of course, there are also the "obligatory" impressions — the aforementioned Tom Jones and Louis Armstrong, among them. These are people all the impressionists seem to do but Brown does give them a personal twist.
The theater at the Golden Nugget is not the most comfortable for either performer (the stage is very small) or audience (the seats have oddly tall backs which can impair sightlines) but Brown's sheer energy and enthusiasm serve to make one forget that. His show is fun and is recommended for, if nothing else, to see how this one performer puts his stamp on material shared by others.
Luckily, however, you will have a fine time and come away with a smile. And, for an impressionist's show in Las Vegas, there's nothing more one can ask, is there?
Tickets start at $39.95 and go up to $99.95 for a pre-show backstage meet-and-greet. Brown plays at 7:30 pm Tuesday through Sunday.
Book via phone at 1-866-946-5336 or online at www.goldennugget.com.