Review by Tatum Stafford
I’m sure many Perth Fringe-goers would agree that Fringe is incomplete without a ticket to Bernie Dieter. Her sold out run of Little Death Club last year was a festival favourite, and her solo performance this year, ‘Bernie Dieter in Konzert’, follows suit.
Performed in the gorgeous Edith Spiegeltent in the Woodside Pleasure Gardens, the atmosphere was palpable when we found our seats for Thursday night’s performance. As we glanced to our left, there sat Bernie in her trademark black wig, sequined jumpsuit and fluffy shoulder cuffs.
The eccentric performer is known to make a grand entrance in her shows, so her decision to sit beside the audience and hum along to the intro music was a welcome change and set the expectation that we were about to get to know her a little better – which we certainly did.
The setlist was packed with some of her familiar favourites, including ‘A is for Alcohol’, and a hilarious song with a title that is a little too inappropriate to name here (head to her Spotify page, it’s well worth a listen!). Her powerful voice seems built for a Spiegeltent, with warm timbre and a gorgeous tone.
Bernie’s band were just as captivating, playing song after song with incredible passion and above all, fun. You can tell it’s a tight-knit group, with Bernie frequently involving them in her stories and name-dropping a few in-jokes with a twinkle in her eye and a massive grin on her face.
The highlight of the show, however, came during her second last song, a cover of MGMT’s ‘Time to Pretend’. Halfway through the emotional ballad, she removed her wig and shoes slowly, and sang the rest of the song with an incredible passion. It was fascinating to see the woman behind the star vehicle that has travelled the world performing in Bernie’s studded shoes. Whoever she is (if we ever find out), she has certainly made her mark upon her Perth audiences which adore her.
Though she was a last-minute addition to the Fringe line-up this year, Bernie’s run this year is completely sold out. If you were lucky to get tickets, you’re in for a treat of a show – but if you weren’t, here’s hoping this incredible performer is back in Perth for the 2022 festival.