REVIEW: Kim David Smith in Mostly Marlene at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival

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Kim David Smith has made an impressive return to the Adelaide Cabaret Festival for his 4th season with his new show Mostly Marlene (read our interview with him ahead of his 2021 season here) An Australian premiere, this show had only been performed in New York prior to COVID-19 shutting the world down for 18 months. Fresh out of hotel quarantine, Kim David Smith’s pure joy at performing in front of a real crowd was palpable.


Image: Claudio Raschella


The show begins with Amanda Hodder on piano, a very accomplished pianist and his friend of 17 years, and a stage filled with smoke – will Kim David Smith appear from behind the smoke? No, instead he moves through the crowd towards the stage. From that moment and until the end of the “built in second encore”, the audience is fixated on Kim.


Dressed in black pants, a black dress coat with distinguished coattails, a white shirt and white bow tie, black long gloves, topped off with the very cabaret top hat, Kim David Smith looked every part the cabaret performer. His sultry eye make-up and a pale pink, glittery shade of lipstick  – BTW Kim, I might need to pinch that lipstick! – glimmered under the spotlight.


The show is interspersed with witty one-liners “I wanted to call myself Michelle Pfizer but I got offered Moderna” and calling himself an “internationally fame-ish performer”. While Mostly Marlene moves from serious songs to fun songs and then back to serious again, Kim David Smith is not one to take himself too seriously.


Mostly Marlene is as the name suggests mostly Marlene Dietrich songs. Kim David Smith interweaves Kylie and Madonna into the repertoire with ease and without it feeling like it didn’t belong. Early on in Mostly Marlene, Kylie’s “In your eyes” is blended into “Ich bin die fesche Lola”. The refrain from Madonna’s “Erotica” follows Marlene Dietrich’s “Johnny”. Mostly Marlene comprises songs in English and in Dietrch’s first language, German and Kim Daivd Smith moves between the languages with ease. For German often sounding to foreign ears as quite a harsh sounding language, Mostly Marlene shows it can be sultry and even sexy with Kim David Smith’s command.


Kim David Smith is a seasoned performer and it shows. He is no stranger to the stage and his hand movements, tilt of the head and that exaggerated “silent movie eyelash acting” as he coined it, show he is every part the cabaret/musical performer.  He had the audience fixated on him for the entire hour show. Mostly Marlene is an hour of mostly Marlene Dietrich songs as well as anecdotes from both her and Kim David Smith’s lives with some Madonna, Kylie and the fabulous Toto Coelo’s “Dracula’s Tango” thrown in. Kim David Smith’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival season has now concluded. If you get a chance to see Kim David Smith in Mostly Marlene, or anything really, in the future, we highly recommend you do so.





Matilda Marseillaise was a guest of Adelaide Cabaret Festival.


Kim David Smith was due to perform Mostly Marlene at Ginger’s at the Oxford Hotel tomorrow, Sunday, June 27, 2021 at 8:00 PM but the show has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Stay tuned by signing up to Kim David Smith’s newsletter via his website:

For more Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2021 reviews, take a look at the following:

REVIEW: Brent Ray Fraser, the Naked Artist, at Adelaide Cabaret Festival

REVIEW: Mother Archer’s Cabaret for dark times at Adelaide Cabaret Festival




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Kim David Smith Mostly Marlene