Come back to the cabaret, my friend

I'M just an old-fashioned girl,'' that timeless talent Eartha Kitt sang to a spellbound audience at the Mandarin Hotel's Harbour Room.

The Mandarin's what? If you were hitting Hong Kong's nightspots back in the 70s you wouldn't need to ask. The Harbour Room (now divided between the Pierrot Restaurant and the hotel's health club), the Hilton's Eagle's Nest, the Sheraton's Pink Giraffe, the Palace - those were the days when cabaret reigned supreme and practically every month saw the arrival of world-class acts.

Now it's amateur night in karaoke land, but the old magic crops up from time to time. It's currently happening every Thursday and Saturday night thanks to local group Broadway Express, enjoying it's third inning at Faces in Central.

A couple of things make this one special: two fresh talents from New York and an almost totally revamped programme. It's a rich potpourri spanning half-a-century of Broadway favourites and the flavour is enhanced by more than five harmonious voices.

For this season, artistic director Ricky Lopez has gone all out with choreography and costumes and demanding real action and acting - and getting it from Sheri Tillman, Allan Seiler and Andrea Miller, plus new members Malia Ondrejka and Steven Aldridge.

Nostalgia, comedy, satire, raunch and romance; there's something to please every taste.

Smoothing the way with his usual competence is music director and pianist Scott Gibson and providing nourishment is a four-course dinner which offers good value at $525 per head. The show can also be seen minus the meal ($275 including two drinks). Either way, Broadway Express goes down very agreeably. - Zelda Cawthorne