Underbelly Festival, Southbank – until 23 June 2019
Reviewed by Claire Roderick
In Bernie Dieter’s Little Death Club, no seat is safe, as hostess Bernie Dieter will take off her (fabulous) heels and climb over the audience to sing to/on anyone who takes her fancy.
The atmosphere inside the Spiegeltent is one of a slightly seedy, but very welcoming club with the performers milling around, posing for and chatting to the audience as they make their way to their seats.
Dieter and creative director Tom Velvick have put together a perfectly judged show full of raucous filth interspersed with mind-blowing speciality acts and some beautifully soft and quiet moments. Inspired by Weimar Republic Kabarett, this is all saucy but never cruel, with a wonderful sense of inclusion and fun.
Dieter is a brilliant host, with a brilliantly sultry rapport with the audience and boy, can she belt out a song. Beau Sargent does things with his body that will make you gasp, but what could be a retch-inducing contortion freakshow develops into a thing of beauty, and when he returns for his aerial performance, his hoop work is jaw-droppingly emotional. Fancy Chance and her hair hanging ballet is simply astounding, and Kitty Bang Bang’s fire-breathing act is a high-octane thriller. Giving the audience time to breathe and recover are the hilarious Josh Glanc as Le Mime Tipi, a French mime who REALLY hates his job, and Myra Dubois, delivering scathing insults and her own unique take on an Elaine Paige classic.
This is the perfect show to start a night out with friends, with a well-stocked bar and an obscenely talented cast creating an irresistible celebration of difference, freedom and unadulterated joy.