Morphium Kabarett – exploring a gay man’s erotic life
words by John Goodridge
Sunday afternoon is an odd time for a cabaret show of this nature, but at least the sun has set and the lights are dim in the Magic Mirror Spiegeltent. The smoky stage is lit with Amanda Caletti on piano and Alana Dawes on cello, which creates a sombre mood reminiscent of 1920s Berlin.
Kim David Smith makes an unexpected entrance that immediately lifts the mood and tone. All eyes are on him, dressed impeccably in top hat and tails, complete with ridiculously high shiny black heels; he is captivating and clearly relishes the attention that he demands. You could hear a pin drop as the hushed excitement builds.
Smith makes no apologies for seeking the attention he craves and captivates and wields a magical presence on stage. The shadows and lights dance around him to create a larger than life persona. He has been described as a male Marlene Dietrich and it’s easy to see why. He also injects as much Kylie into his show as he can, in clever ways.
Before long, the luxurious coat is slipped off revealing a well-sculpted torso, which he is clearly happy to share.
The songs vary between originals that he has written from his recent album Nova and those that other people have written and are clever in their interpretation. At around the halfway mark, he performs a monologue, which was really just talking to the audience so not a real monologue, in which he described his move from Australia to New York and the affirmation that comes from that city, where a child is praised for dropping an ice cream. It is clear that this experience nurtured and polished him as a performer; his confidence was palpable.
A duet with Amanda singing about best girlfriends shopping was a highlight. The two had a real connection that was infectious, and the audience was laughing along. That was the magic of this performance, one minute you are laughing, the next he’s tugging at the heartstrings with a poignant song.
Before you can click your heels and say “Take me home, Toto”, the show is nearing the end. Smith hangs on and draws out applause, “enough for an encore” and he leaves as he entered, in a cheeky and mysterious way. Morphium Kabarett is truly what cabaret is all about, a few tears but a whole host of laughs complete with glitter, sex appeal and panache.