If you are looking for an alternative to dinner and movie for a Monday date night, try Morphium Kabarett instead! Romance was in the air pre-show. A soft glow filled the backroom of Pangea as couples took their seats and ordered their drinks and edibles from the Italian/Mediterranean menu. The audience was eclectic but artsy, much like Pangea itself: couples of every gender combination, fashionable gays, romantic couples over the age of 50, a table of impeccably dressed corporate folk, tourists, and host of supporters from the alt-cabaret scene filled the room. The unique downtown ambiance of the venue lent itself well to the neo-Weimar cabaret show.
Morphium Kabarett is hosted by the talented Kim David Smith, who has won the 2009 Bistro Award and has been nominated for MAC Awards for Outstanding Male Vocalist in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. And rightly so. Not only is he a skilled vocalist but he embodies his songs with an ethereal sensuality that is fascinating to watch. He is equal parts actor and singer as he transports us with each song purely with the power of his imagination and voice.
It feels like one gets to know Kim David Smith throughout the show. Not necessarily because of his song choices, which are a slick combination of cabaret classics and modern songs sung in the style of, but through the guests he pulls in. He seemed to have a personal relationship with each one. In between songs he banters with the audience and reveals how he came to know these skilled performers. Although every Monday the guests will be different, I have no doubt the cast of characters will be just as intriguing.
Joey Arias was first up; a drag queen of gothic proportions with a raw bluesy voice. Even though there were a few line flubs, she used the opportunity to engage the audience in a comedic dance. She certainly knew how to build and bring back a joke. She whistled and rasped her way through songs supported by the wonderful pianist Tracy Stark. Next up was Ali McGregor, Aussie cabaret queen extraordinaire. Funny, personable and with a voice and vocal control that was unbelievable. She sang ACDC in the style of Celine Dion… enough said. William Ferguson, also the host’s husband, brought charm and sweetness to the stage with his operatic lullaby and songs about warthog romance.
Tracy Stark on piano, who is also the musical director, was magical throughout the entire show. She was able to handle each new guest with an impressive musical ear. Her skills as pianist are a joy to experience. I would happily commission her to play music for the most romantic date night ever, especially if that date was with Mark Scharfglass who added to the musical ambiance with his big bass and broad shoulders.
Morphium Kabarett is aptly named as the overall experience is relaxing, darkly sexy and strangely sweet. Even though I went in expecting a more traditional show where the songs were tied together with a story arc of some sort, I didn’t miss it. The structure of the show was the charm of Kim David Smith. It’s a fun night of dinner, libations and expertly performed songs with your freaky, extremely talented friends.