|Kim David Smith performs Morphium Kabarett|
Created and performed by Kim David Smith. Directed by Amanda Hodder. Magic Mirrior Spiegeltent. Adelaide Cabaret Festival. June 17 and 18. 2017.
Reviewed by Peter Wilkins
He slinks slowly on high heels through the audience at their tables in the Magic Mirror Spiegeltent, pausing for a moment to run his fingers through a person’s hair. Dressed in Top Hat and Tails, with vest and white tie, Kim David Smith is the epitome of the stylish, sexy scion of the cabaret. His voice as pure as sterling silver sings the sorrowful tale of Pirate Jenny. The harsh edge of Weimar cabaret loses none of the decadence of the time, eerily played by Amanda Hodder on piano and Alana Dawes on Bass in the shadows of a stage bathed in a sinister green. The matinee sun streaming through the coloured windows could not dispel the tantalizing sound of true cabaret in a sadistic rather than brutal rendition of Pirate Jenny’s song from Bertolt Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera. Slowly and sensuously, teasing the moment, Smith removes his jacket during his husky homage to Marlene Dietrich’s Johnny. Nipples peer from beside the thin leather strap across his chest as the anointed thin white duke of cabaret launches into Polly Peachum’s You Can’t Say No.
With whispered tones, Smith coaxes his audience, drawing forth applause, eliciting praise, entrancing with his song, beguiling with his body and entertaining with songs from Weil to Spoliansky (Ich Bin Ein Vamp), from Friedrich Hollaender’s Eine Kleine Sehnsucht (A Little Yearning) to Edith Piaf’s Padam Padam. Smith transports us from Berlin cabaret to the smoky dens of French nightclubs of the twentieth century. Singing in English, French and German, Smith intersperses song with chat, recounting the story of the man with little hands and a huge ego and the Donald Trump Concentration resorts. In the tradition of Kabarett, his harmless swipes incise their sting. Subversive and seductive with a voice to show his range from a beautiful rendition of Nat King Cole’s Nature Boys to Dietrich’s Illusion, Smith holds his audience in thrall.
Too soon, Smith saunters from the stage with a sideways glance and luring smile. His classy, stylish Morphium Kabarett has woven its spell and carried with ease his audience back to an era of divine decadence. It is a trip to Euphoria best suited to the smoke-filled, alcohol fumed, seedily lit clubs of a time gone by. But even at a matinee with daylight streaming through, Smith’s poised and playful performance is a triumph of style and dangerous charm. Morphium Kabarett serves up a relish of pure Weimar cabaret, performed with panache by a master of the genre.