The Jazz Age Dance Cabaret
The Candy Shop Show
Woolloongabba Antique Centre
May 7 – 16 2015
Reviewed by Jackson Kellaway
Anywhere Theatre Festival: theatre that happens literally anywhere. Even in an antique centre. Woolloongabba Antique Centre. This is where The Candy Shop Show staged The Jazz Age Dance Cabaret.
The Jazz Age Dance Cabaret is a look back to the popular dance and music of the 1920s, 30s and 40s.
Follow the performers as they sing and dance their way through the Prohibition and Speakeasy’s of the 20s and 30s and relive the energy and despair of the war through the melodic harmonies of the 1940s.
When my friend and I walked into the antique centre we were confronted by cabinets and shelves full of colours; shining jewellery, wooden carvings and other knick-knacks with price tags attached to them. After discovering row after row of random objects (“Oh look at this!” “OMG I want this!”), we found the corner of the store that was set up to seat about 40 people, with a small stage at the front.
After doing the typical read through of the program the curtains were drawn, blocking off the rest of the antique world and exposing four cabaret ladies.
This show is a history lesson. The Jazz Age Cabaret takes the audience on a journey through the eras of dance from the roaring twenties to the frisky fifties right up to the popular use of jazz nowadays. With each era comes a different costume, a different style of dance and a different stunning dancer giving us the facts of the decade. Dance styles include the Charleston of course, goose-bump inducing tap dancing and a LOT of Bob Fosse.
The technical elements of the show are basic, considering the space being used. That said, there isn’t much else needed in regards to lighting. For example, a red wash sets the mood for rouging our knees and rolling our stockings down, and all that jazz.
I was disappointed that on opening night the microphones weren’t working 100% (I would love to have heard the beautiful voices). Although they kept dropping in and out the girls handled the challenge professionally. They didn’t miss a beat!
Jenny Usher, owner of The Candy Shop Show and Director/Choreographer of The Jazz Age Dance Cabaret, has put together an elegant, informative and cheeky cabaret show. It is clear that a lot of hard work has gone into the show and not just by Jenny, but also by the other girls, and SM Kym Brown.
A special mention goes to Maureen Bowra who sang and danced with passion and confidence, especially considering the minimal amount of fabric covering her.
The entire cast look like they are having a gay ol’ time on stage, which puts a beaming smile on my face. I wasn’t lucky enough to be pulled up on stage to learn the Charleston but I was on the edge of my seat, having to stop myself from getting up and joining in the dances, however; I fulfilled my need to be on stage once the show had finished!