Review

REVIEW: Bernie Dieter’s Berlin Underground | Devilry, debauchery, contortion, and conviviality prevail in the Mistress of Mayhem’s night of nights! | 5 STARS

Review | Laura Money | 5 Stars

The night is young as you listen to your favourite cabaret playlist, put on some heavy eyeliner, and head to the klub – but this is no ordinary cabaret experience – this is Bernie Dieter’s Berlin Underground – where anything can happen, and the only certainty is you’re going to have an amazing time! Dieter has perfected the vibe of Berliner Kabarett, smoky rooms filled with carnies, gypsy music, gin, and hedonism. She travels the world taking her signature blend of original music, comedy, circus, and charm to festivals, spiegeltents, dive bars – anywhere that will host her really – but this time, Dieter has procured her own venue, and it’s impressive!

With drag queens greeting you on arrival, and an invitation to sneak in past her gorgeous dresses and props, when you finally arrive at the haze-filled bar and eye off the customised gin menu the mood has been established: decadence. Dieter not only hosts onstage, she extends her welcome to every aspect of the show – from a curated playlist to listen to while getting ready, to a cocktail and food menu, to her pre-show haus band – every detail is thematically on point. (Editor’s note: I was pleasantly surprised to hear The Tiger Lillies on that playlist a few times, and couldn’t keep the smile off my face on the way to the venue.) There’s a buzz that crackles in the air as the audience – dressed to impress in glitter, lace, and lipstick – settles down to watch their first show like this in months.

Dieter bursts onto the stage with exhilleration – a human disco ball of glamour – purring lasciviously into the microphone ‘Let’s Do It Here’ – and getting up close and personal with the slightly terrified men in the audience. It’s all hilariously safe, by the way – but you’ll have to see how it’s done yourself, suffice it to say, it’s all good clean fun! Dieter truly is the ultimate host – her songs range from dusky kabarett ‘The Bar of Anna Marie’ to the vulnerable ‘Time To pretend’ (MGMT cover) and of course, the hilarious ‘Dick Pic.’ Each crazy carnie that Dieter has pulled into her troupe add to the atmosphere, providing contortion, glamour, and sensuality throughout the night. The debonair Reuben Dot Dot Dot charms and delights with his slick hand balance act. Unflappable throughout, he exudes cool drinking his whiskey upside down, balancing only on one hand while popping his hat on with his feet, and abandoning his rig altogether in favour of a few carnie-like audience members! Reuben Dot Dot Dot is the perfect balance of charm and punk, poise and grit as he shows off his incredible skills without breaking a sweat.

Then there’s Lisa Lottie – a fabulous hoops act who delivers their high-octane spinning with a hilarious bit of ‘help’ – building into a manic frenzy of twirling and light that is every bit as mesmerising as Dieter’s beautiful accompanying song. As Dieter provides the soundtrack for Lottie along with Ruby Lai on the pole and Jarred Dewey on the aerial trapeze one is transported to the circus tents and underground bars of old – those trailblazers of the early 20th century who dared to be different yet proved that we are all craving the same thing. Lai’s pole act is jaw-dropping – she defiantly strips off the shackles of small-minded labels (slut, whore, homewrecker) and uses her body to demonstrate the power of empowerment. Subverting the norm, Lai’s sheer strength and gravity-defying moves are awe-inspiring.

Dewey’s aerial trapeze evokes past acts with his ‘strongman’ leotard and ruff, he performs brilliant circus through a queer lens, and it is stunning. Dewey twists and turns with grace and strength and is guaranteed to place jaw firmly on the floor! Local act Scarlet Adams hilariously cavorts about the stage in a playful vaudeville-inspired drag act. Her perfectly timed moves and rubber facial expressions are everything a great drag performance is – camp, fun, and clever.

Bernie Dieter’s Berlin Underground is the ultimate showcase of entertainment. It’s everything we crave in a post-Covid world and quite a few things we didn’t know we needed. Dieter is the uber-host and this perfectly curated experience will be one to remember. It’s an awe-inspiring, heady mix of early Berlinner Kabarett – Dieter embraces the carnival freaks of the world and celebrates them as the divine heroes they truly are but also celebrates the audience as we all come together in her exuberant embrace.

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    

LINK: https://www.crownperth.com.au/entertainment/live-theatre/bernie-dieter%E2%80%99s-berlin-underground#/event-details

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