Imagine 1930’s Shanghai where creative culture was full of energy with foreign musicians and jazz was in full force with the East meeting the West. After all it was a memorable time in Shanghai’s history often referred to as the ‘The Paris of the East, the New York of the West’. Sophie Koh after years of the alternative pop realm has blended her modern style together with Chinese jazz vibes to perform in The Shanghai Mimi Band. Performing in The Spiegeltent in the new Adelaide festival Plaza precinct the tone is set for a smokey, hazy speakeasy intimate jazz club. All was missing were little round tables and glamourous cocktail waitresses serving moonshine!
Along with Koh was the swinging five-piece band playing tunes like the cool cats of jazz! Singing in Mandarin as well as English and in between narrating the stories and life of the Shanghai heyday of the 1930s was entertaining and informative. Life really did seem like it was a hustling and bustling melting pot of a city full of life and that was brought to the stage as much as possible in 2022 Adelaide! Koh has embraced the Chinese jazz style adding in her own sassy and sultry creativity while the band also had opportunities to shine providing solos that had the audience bopping along in their seats.
The most notable songs were Doris Day’s Perhaps and Somebody to Watch Over Me sung leaving most of the songs in Mandarin such as Bu Yao Chang Ba (Stop Singing), Deng Zhe Ni Hui Lai (Waiting 4 You), Gan Lan Shu (The Olive Tree) and the most popular song from the 1970s Teresa Teng’s song The Moon Represents My Heart. So popular many in the audience sang along including a lovely lady called May and when given the microphone did a great job singing with nostalgic heart and soul!
Mixing it up with singing on stage to walking down through the aisle and getting up close and personal dancing along with the audience, The Shanghai Mimi Band brought for a brief moment some 1930s Shanghai class.
Adelaide Cabaret Festival Review By Anastasia Lambis