Bernie Dieter’s Little Death Club is a Berlin-inspired experience of glitter and grunge. It successfully bemuses the audience while welcoming them into Dieter’s weird and wonderful world.
The costuming is befitting of the style, with trench coats, spangled clothing and heavy makeup. There is no overarching theme to the show other than the celebration of difference – and how different this is. Set to a techno-rock soundscape played by a slick live band, there is a mixture of fire breathing, aerial acrobatics, unusual burlesque and intriguing performers.
Host Dieter is a capable singer, going from songs that might shock you in content to others which move you. She holds the whole show together, tying the disparate elements into a semblance of linearity.
Guests include drag act Myra Dubois who romps onto the stage and shares her unique singing voice with the crowd. Unique is the operative word here, and it seems that her act is less about the vocal quality and more about toying with the audience’s expectations. This is a bold move for a show with such a high asking price, but it seems to play well nonetheless. Also featuring is dry-witted French character Marcel Lucont, who delivers dry humour and ‘sex poetry’ in his typical je-ne-sais-quoi style.
Some of the standout moments belong to aerialist Beau Sergeant, who bursts onto the stage with robotic passion, shedding clothing and gripping the audience with the slightly odd nature of it all. This classically-trained ballet dancer also gives us the most emotional performance of the evening, with a jaw-dropping routine on an aerial hoop set to a haunting number sung by Dieter.
The show closes with a raucous drinking song written by Dieter that transcends at least four different time signatures and leaves the audience in a great mood. This is a strong way to end the show, topped off with a fitting speech from Dieter concerning the importance of difference.
Everything is wonderfully odd in this show, and Dieter ensures the audience feel welcomed if a little confounded by it.
Little Death Club is on at Underbelly Circus Hub – The Beauty (Venue 360)
At 20:00 until 24th Aug
Book tickets here
Image: Alistair Veryard Photography