Reviewed by Ellen Becker
The delightfully conceived Bamboozle Room in Potts Point transports you to another time – or perhaps, out of time – with its pastiche of sentimental iconography, from the Gatsby inspired art deco wallpaper and extravagant chandeliers to its waiters decked out in 1940’s wartime inspired garb. It’s a quirky setting, a kind of welcome throwback to the glory days of the glittering mile. As you settle in to the intimate cabaret-style seating, knocking back a delicious cocktail or two, listening to a curated mix of jazz and retro pop, the setting alone is thoroughly agreeable.
The show itself is an homage to the USO (United Service Organisations) Shows that ventured in to war zones and army bases to boost morale of US service men and women. From Marilyn to Bogie, so many iconic stars pledged their allegiance by serving on countless USO trips. My jazz obsessed grandfather loved telling the story of borrowing a US Serviceman’s cap to sneak into an exclusive USO performance by bandleader Artie Shaw in Sydney in 1943.
Deploying wartime classics like The Andrew’s Sisters Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree and contemporary pop hits like Miley Cyrus’ Party in the U.S.A, the dancers weave little narratives into their performances that keeps the momentum running through the 3-hour program. While it wouldn’t hurt to have a compere to mix up the program and insert some comedic interludes, the dancers each give playful, energetic performances, often breaking the wall to engage audience members in the piece. You get a strong sense throughout that each member of the troupe is thoroughly invested in the whole enterprise, and I can assure you that their vibrant energy is charmingly contagious.