Bernie Dieter’s Little Death Club  review by Ash Cottrell


I have been lucky enough in life to have witnessed for a second time now, the sultry stage prowess of Bernie Dieter. Most recently, it was at Federation Square’s spectacular Spiegeltent in a delectable show entitled, Bernie Dieter’s Little Death Club. Note to any potential patrons- there are a number of Spiegeltents that form fanciful erections across the city in the springtime. My advice would be to check your tickets so that you’re not running across town in what should be relaxing, pre-show cocktail time. Suffice to say, I made it just in time for Dieter to perform her provocative opening number, fit with unsuspecting male audience members who had made the foolish decision to sit close to the front. Herein lies the second note to self.

According to the press, this show has just enjoyed a thrilling run at the Edinburgh Festival and I can see why, it is excellent. All of the performers were supremely talented and appropriately placed in the timeline of the show, incorporating dazzling costume design and accompanied by a skilful and energetic live band.

For me, there was a special stand out in the line-up, Beau Sargent who performed a combination of aerial work and contortion. It didn’t take me long to find out via Google that Sargent had been a semi-finalist in Australia’s Got Talent when he was just seventeen years old and had trained at the prestigious Australian Ballet School. I couldn’t help but wonder, having recently completed a tax return myself, what deductions Sargent must be able to claim at the end of each financial year as a aerialist and contortionist.

Other show highlights for me included a spectacular burlesque performer, Jacqueline Furey who was captivating to watch with her careful movement and graceful costume. Bernie Dieter also deserves a mention, being quite possibly the best emcee I have ever seen, engaging and challenging the audience to leave their inhibitions at the door.

My only criticism would be that I have seen a lot of these performers do these acts before and in some cases, quite some time ago. I can understand that if you have a routine that works, use it again. With that said, my hunch is that the talent and capacity of these performers would know few boundaries and it would have been nice to see some fresh content from those that I had seen in the past.

In short, Bernie Dieter’s Little Death Club was joyous, wondrous and a true celebration of life, performance and queer culture. As an audience member at a show like this, you always feel welcomed, embraced and celebrated. It was a pleasure and a treat to have seen this group of exceptionally talented human beings premiere their wonderful little show.