The nuance of noir

Nova Noir (Kim Smith)

Brisbane Powerhouse, Visy Theatre

June 12 – 13

Award-winning New York based cabaret performer Kim Smith is a skilled showman. From the outset, of “Nova Noir” you will be tempted to close your eyes and let his captivating voice wash over you, however, it is also a challenge to look away, such is his beguiling presence. Every bit the image of one of the beautiful people referenced in the ‘Wilkommen’ opening number of “Cabaret”, Smith narcissistically oozes sex appeal. Indeed, this is a compelling, controlled and nuanced performance from the bewitching Australian performer.

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Motifs of 1920s German and French cabaret feature heavily, from accordion accompaniment (Music Director Benjamin Ickies) to eye-lined Weimerish persona, but there is much, much more to “Nova Noir”, from political satire to taboo topics stemming from the show’s loose (but witty) narrative exploration of the trials and joys of love.

Smith has a cheeky sense of humour, albeit often uncomfortable humour. Australia and the United States have a lot in common, he observes. As illustration of the shared convenient amnesia about darker aspects of history, he proceeds to sing of Dixie, way down south, in an inappropriate song of racism, intriguing in its enticing delivery with molassesy Southern sashay.

But “Nova Noir” is not all contemplative, with the set including some lovely love songs, electro-pop and reworked modern classics such ‘You Keep Me Hanging On’, ‘Erotica and ‘I Should Be So Lucky’. With such a varied repertoire, the show is always intriguing. Indeed, it is a shadowy, but captivating contemporary cabaret, quite unlike any other, but well worth the effort.

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