Banquet Room, Fri Jun 6
Australian cabaret performer Kim Smith enticed his crowd the moment they heard his bright vocals and witnessed his stylised movements and piercing eyes. Smith created a neo-Weimar Cabaret atmosphere that was full of grit, mystery and sensual undertones. The music was powerful in lifting the atmosphere Smith had created. He was supported on stage by four brilliant musicians on double bass, drums, guitar, piano and the accordion. Musical Director and accordionist Benjamin Ickies deserves praise for the tight and emotive sound the band created.
Nova Noir features Weimar-era originals in English, French and German, as well as pop classics arranged to blend in with the original era. Some of the musical highlights were Eden Ahbez’s Nature Boy, George Gershwin’s Summertime and an impressive arrangement of Nancy Sinatra’s hit Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down).
Smith’s voice was quite striking at times, which it needed to be to stand out from the band behind him, but his voice was also balanced with a gentleness to it. Kim Smith certainly had arrogant and narcissistic traits in his character, which added great comedic touches during some of his dialogue with the audience, but it was once again balanced with a vulnerability and warmth.
Nothing is out of place in Smith’s performance. Every movement Smith made was simple and precise. Each head movement, eye gaze and hand gesture was meticulous and even bending down to have a sip of water was stylish. Unexpectedly Smith’s hair, make-up and costume was particular. Quality sound and lighting also ensured the show retained its elegance.
I wondered toward the latter half of the show if a greater variety was required in its content and staging as some audience members appeared to be getting fidgety toward the end. The show might benefit from subtle changes to build variety, but the atmosphere is so spot-on that losing that would be a far greater loss. Control and balance was exactly right in Nova Noir ensuring an overall quality cabaret show. It certainly got me excited for the remainder of the 2014 Adelaide Cabaret Festival!
by Bobby Goudie
Kim Smith performs Nova Noir at Banquet Room, Adelaide Festival Centre, until Sat Jun 7.