CABARET FROM THE DARK SIDE
Kim Smith’s life of cabaret is a personal journey through a dark and seductive landscape. The enigmatic Australian performer has been doing the hard and interesting yards around New York, where he is currently based.
Smith explores the dark side of cabaret in his show Nova Noir, evoking cabaret of the 1920s in a thoroughly contemporary way.
“Cabaret is a very personal experience, impossible to define,” he says.
“It’s intimate, unadorned, it’s as close as I can be on stage ... to just being me.”
With a sharp-edged sense of humour, Smith has the ability to make you laugh and feel uncomfortable at the same time.
With its sharp political satire, cynicism and gender ambiguity, the style and inspiration for Nova Noir derives from Weimarperiod German cabaret.
Smith gives his own songs a decadent 1920s treatment and performs them alongside some inventive mash-ups.
From the Wiemar era to Friedrich Hollaender, Cher, The Supremes and even Kylie, Smith gives the standards very nonstandard treatment.
“My musical director, accompanist and accordionist is the very skilled Benjamin Ickies, and we have a synergy that works in the cabaret milieu,” Smith says.
“There’s nothing but black all around: it’s a musical mirror where the text is much more real than someone just singing songs. You are … telling the audience a story where they get to use their imagination.”
While some performers like to set up a song and tell people who wrote it and why, this is not the case for Smith.
“I let the audience find their meaning, because each one of them will have their own perspective,” he says.
While Smith evens the dark tone of his performance with some love songs and a sprinkling of electro-pop, the darkness is always present. Kim Smith, The Arts Centre Gold Coast, Saturday night.