The brain child of gutsy hostess Lady Alex The Wam Bam Club is a mixture of vaudeville, burlesque and fine (well adequate) dining, housed in the eternally glamorous Café de Paris.
The waiter charmingly asks us for our drinks order and we await our food as the show begins to swirl around us. For the extra £25 you don’t really get much; although the menu looks fantastic, upon the tasting of it, it’s more school dinners than haute cuisine.
But it is fun to do dinner and a show all at once and soon we are being cheekily teased into the party spirit by the girls of the Cabaret Rouge. Their fruity winks and feathered twirls are impressively performed with full throttled verve and vigour.
Then it’s our MC performing the first of several burlesque acts that fly very close to the wind in terms of taste. Lady Alex gleefully dresses up as Osama Bin Laden and both Gary Glitter and the children he fancied. But whilst marrying both ‘political satire’ with burlesque may be taking it back to this sexy style’s roots, it doesn’t always work here; Lady Alex’s brush strokes are too broad to be truly subversive.
Mischievous duo Shirley & Shirley hit just the right note however. They quirkily take us through a naughty water aerobics sketch and relish lampooning the gaps between expectation and reality as ballet dances greedily stuffing their faces before their first call. This is witty stuff that seems fresh and new.
Then it’s a flurry of fire eating with Sophia Landi in a performance which is more cozy than explosive and Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer, who appears looking every inch the ‘Bright Young Thing’. This dapper gent proceeds, ukulele in hand, to take us through some classic tunes in diamond cut RP tones that certainly highlights the silliness of some of the lyrics. It’s a fairly simple idea and it’s not until he starts to tackle some dance hits that this act jumps off the page and becomes something slightly less obvious.
The incredibly brash Wes Zaharuk rounds up proceedings in a comedic magic act that was either awful or ironic or perhaps both. The audience loved it though, so maybe I’m just not a vaudeville gal; if having toilet paper blown on you makes you giggle, you’ll love this.
The Wam Bam Club is an energetic evening packed full of half naked girls and bawdy comedians that has the audience if not roaring continuously than certainly laughing a lot. So why don’t I feel wowed? The truth is that for all this cabaret’s confident swagger, it is a show which lacks enough punch or originality to really knock your socks off. Giggles can be fine, but for the incredibly high ticket prices (£35 in advance, £50 on the door and £75 for the show and dinner) it needs to be genuinely side splitting; for nearly £100, accept nothing less.
Written for The Public Reviews.