***** stars

Dead Man Label presents Bernie Dieter’s Little Death Club for Perth Fringe World 2020: A provocative and bold cabaret where each act is performed with distinction and dignity in equal measure.

As the 4-piece Weimar punk jazz band begin, the atmosphere intensifies ready for Bernie Dieter’s entrance. Dieter’s presence is magnetic and the energy steps up a gear as she addresses the audience and sings one of the many original songs that form the soundtrack of the show. Dieter’s vocals are amazing, maintaining the mysterious and sultry atmosphere, though at times the lyrics were muffled so some of the witticisms were lost. However, Dieter’s connection with the audience is never lost as her eyes roam across the auditorium then fix on individuals, personalising the experience, and even charming and cajoling them to be part of the action.

Dieter introduces other acts such as Art Simone whose performances are dazzling and wry, in one moment epitomising and, in the next, subverting drag routines. Two breathtaking performances from Fancy Chance add sophistication and elegance, while Michael Standen’s intense aerial performances demonstrate incredible skill and strength. Though all the acts have a sense of danger, it is Jacqueline Furey’s performances that capture an originality that is refreshing. Firstly, an angle-grinder meets a chastity belt, then, an astonishing fire-breathing act, both drawing gasps from the audience throughout.

Bernie Dieter’s Little Death Club asserts the power and dignity of diversity: truly a cabaret for the twenty-first century.

Bernie Dieter’s Little Death Club was showing at the Spiegeltent, Woodside Pleasure Garden from 17 January to 16 February 2020.