Humor in uniform

Swingtime Canteen

The ladies of <i>Swingtime Canteen</i>.

The ladies of Swingtime Canteen.

Rated 3.0

The place: London. The year: 1944. It’s the Blitz and five women have flown overseas to entertain the troops in a live broadcast from a British army canteen. Through the night they’ll have to face Nazi bombings, power outages and each other’s bad jokes.

Garbeau’s Dinner Theatre offers Sacramento audiences its latest musical production, Swingtime Canteen, written and compiled by Linda Bond, William Repicci and Charles Busch.

While the production is little more than a series of songs from the golden age of swing music strung together with cheesy dialogue and jokes, it is the lack of enthusiasm and uninspired performances that make the show lack the real spark it begs for.

With incredible set design, a topnotch band and a talented crew, it’s a shame Swingtime Canteen just doesn’t seem to work. The highlight of the evening is a creative number called “Don’t Fence Me In” where the cast comes alive in a hilarious prop-driven comedy piece. While there is a bit of dancing to spruce things up and a number of fun special effects, it comes too little too late and is over in the blink of an eye.

A treat for older audiences who wish to relive the nostalgia of swing music and the tense last days of WWII; but for those expecting Garbeau’s usual larger-than-life performances may find themselves feeling somewhat disappointed.