Interview | Laura Money
Bernie Dieter – international cabaret star and host of travelling show Little Death Club, is here in Perth and this time, she’s set up an entire Kabaret Klub experience – from the ground up! Featuring death-defying circus, sexy cabaret, and amazing vocals from local and interstate acts, Bernie Dieter’s Berlin Underground is on from 17th November – 13th December at Crown Perth, so get there as soon as you can! We caught up with Bernie before the shows to see what all the fuss is about.
Ms Dieter travels around the world to Festivals, Fringe Festivals, Bars, Clubs, Dive bars – anywhere that will have her. She writes brand new songs or adapts songs for her shows, and essentially chooses acts from her ‘carnie’ family – people she has met over the years. When COVID-19 hit, Dieter was actually in Berlin but luckily snagged one of the last flights to Melbourne before the lockdown. So, how has being grounded affected someone so used to travel and live entertainment?
For the first time in a long time I found myself in one place, and there was something really lovely about that. Obviously I missed being onstage and I missed humans, you know? That beautiful connection you get just being in a room with people, having some drinks and a laugh…just humans – Zoom can only do so much!
It’s been said that isolation begets creativity, and Dieter is certainly no exception! She did a lot of song writing – so expect lots of new material in the show – and with the news that the Perth show was going ahead, Dieter also turned her hand at creating and designing the entire bar – right down to the cocktail menu.
We’ve fully taken over this abandoned space within Crown and I’ve finally been able to design from the ground up my very own Kabaret! It’s like the cabaret club of my dreams, and that’s been like a beacon of hope in lockdown.
So what can punters expect to see when they go to Bernie Dieter’s Berlin Underground? It’s in an abandoned nightclub (anyone remember dancing their early 20s away at EVE?) and even features a relic from when Kylie performed there: “a beautiful pink curtain, that is now grungy and dishevelled and perfectly punk.” If you’ve bought your tickets, you’ll receive a text message from Bernie herself detailing the location, and you get to sneak in with a password – it’s all terribly “Weimar and dabauched, and a little punk.” Dieter will also send you her playlist that she gets ready to – to really get you in the mood! Everything has been considered, from the gin menu to the cheese boards and German pretzels. It’s a fully curated experience.
It’s no coincidence that a Kabaret Klub is making a comeback – Weimar Berliner Kabaret was a refuge for the disenfranchised, artsy, liberated, people in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s – and of course later in the days of the Berlin Wall – as oppressive regimes threatened the very convivial mood Dieter has created here. The parallels in a post-Covid theatre scene are strongly drawn:
There is so much scary shit happening in this world right now and there are so many things that are trying to divide us, to separate us. We’ve been told that difference is something we should be afraid of, and in the show we try and show that there is a connection between all of us different types of people. Because in this time, I think we need that more than ever.
Dieter is clearly over the moon with her new circumstances – after the preview of the show, she was completely taken aback. What a surreal experience it must have been – finally able to do what she loves the most in the world again. But more than that, it was seeing people coming together, chatting at the bar and just having a good time out together. “Just seeing people making new friends, chatting, we needed it – we are such social creatures,
It was the first time Dieter had set foot onstage in eight months – an entire year’s worth of work had been cancelled.
It was a really beautiful moment and got quite emotional. It was a really poignant moment for all the cast and crew as well. A lot of the performers were flown in from Victoria – and we all just felt so elated, and joyful, and proud.
The show has been modified in line with all health and safety precautions – no more licked foreheads – but that doesn’t mean it’s going to involve no interactions at all. Dieter is very excited to bring a blend of traditional show pieces – the ones the punters know and love – and new material – especially since eight months is a long time to write new songs. “It’s something we were very conscious of – especially in Perth, you guys are up for anything. But it’s part the heart of the show really, to get up close and personal.” We know it will be an amazing show, even if the hand sanitiser is for the filthiness of the acts, rather than pandemic preparedness – and that’s how we like it!
WHEN: 17th November – 13th December 2020 | 7pm, 7:30pm & 9:45pm
WHERE: Crown Perth Nightclub | Crown | BURSWOOD
INFO: Tickets $34.36 – $80.24 | Duration 2hrs 10 mins including interval | 18+ event | Sexual themes, loud music, audience interaction