Bernie Dieter’s Little Death Club
Bernie Dieter’s collection of “punks, freaks and weirdos” at the WA Spiegeltent made for one of the most entertaining hours of circus and cabaret I’ve ever experienced anywhere.
Bernie, looking like a hybrid of Black Widow and the Madam from the Tank Girl movie, runs the show and sings her own compositions, ably supported by her musicians, in those moments when she’s not sashaying through the crowd to tease and flirt with audience members of any sex (though only a few strong males were chose to literally support her by carrying her back to the stage).
The show also features acrobatic and aerialist performances by the agile and athletic Michael Standen and the astonishing Fancy Chance, whose mid-air dance while hanging from her hair is mesmerizing even before she sheds her butterfly-like robe.
Jacqueline Furey makes the sparks fly in the most riveting angle-grinding act I’ve ever seen, and ramps up the energy level even higher with a breathtaking display of fire-eating and tassel-twirling.
The tamest spot in the show is Art Simone’s routine drag queen, and yes, I did put those words in the correct order. There are two good jokes in the set, both of which would have been funny without the dress and makeup.
That aside, Bernie Dieter’s Little Death Club is a raunchy, riotous, sometimes raucous and occasionally nerve-wracking celebration of life, love, music, alcohol, exhibitionism, pansexuality and cunnilingus.
It’s certainly not for everyone – for one thing, the stage smoke is so thick that I thought I was in Canberra and I was glad I packed a Vogmask – but the best of the acts will have you on the edge of your Ikea barstool and have nearly exhausted my supply of superlatives.
It’s entertaining even if you’re not a punk, freak or weirdo – and if you are, you’ll feel as though you’ve been welcomed home.