Cabaret Festival

Cabaret Festival Review: The Shànghai MiMi Band (featuring Sophie Koh)

The Shànghai MiMi Band and singer Sophie Koh present a blend of English and Chinese jazz from the 1930s to modern day.

This is the kind of band that makes one lament the lack of an underground jazz scene in Adelaide.
3

Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre
Reviewed 17 June 2022

East meets west in a pleasing blend of English and Chinese jazz from the 1930s to modern day, with the fresh-faced 5-piece band being outstanding enough to make one lament the lack of an underground jazz scene in Adelaide.

Shànghǎi MiMi is an idea originally conceived and produced by Douglas Hunter for the 2019 Sydney Festival. The Adelaide Cabaret Festival production is a cut-down version of the concept that once featured acrobats and international musicians. This is a concert only, with Sophie Koh on lead vocals, supporting the excellent new musos for this tour.

Despite the success of the music, there’s much to dislike about the gig, being a dot-point example of how not to stage a show: the sound balance frequently drowns out the singer; the over-crowded stage causes ample masking problems, particularly for the instrumental solos; Koh has to edge around the musicians on stage and plays only to the audience directly in front of her; there’s no steps down from the stage, making for some very awkward movement as she tries to get on and off the high stage; when walking around the audience, Koh is often singing in the dark; and why on earth schedule an unnecessary costume change in the middle of a short one-hour show?

Thankfully, the musical selection is wonderful, and the final few numbers end it on a high. Particularly heart-warming is Koh’s generous interaction with some audience members singing along to a popular classic Chinese number. Bravo to all the brave souls who took their turn at the microphone.

In a bigger venue, the staging of The Shànghai MiMi Band would be much more successful. Go for the music, not the show, and you won’t regret letting the ‘Paris of the East’ wash over you.

Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Twitter: @StrtegicRetweet

Venue:  The Famous Spiegeltent, Festival Plaza, Adelaide
Season:  17-18 June 2022
Duration:  1 hour
Tickets:  $40-$45
Bookings:  https://www.adelaidecabaretfestival.com.au/events/the-shanghai-mimi-band/

Rating out of 5: 3

Photo Credit: Claudio Raschella

#Adelaide #AdCabFest #AdelaideFesCent @AdelaideCabaret

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