REVIEW: Bernie Dieter’s Club Kabarett at the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent

Review by Michelle Sutton After a wildly successful sold-out February season, Bernie Dieter’s Club Kabarett is back at the Runaway Gardens at Circular Quay to open the Sydney Fringe Festival 2022. A mix of musical theatre, cabaret, circus, physical theatre and comedy, it is the perfect way to kick off the Fringe Festival with style and razzle-dazzle. Anyone who enters the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent, a venue inspired by the decadent travelling circus tents of the early 1900s, featuring stained glass windows, velvet and booths all along the edges is immediately transported to a different time and place. Club Kabarett is very much inspired by the ethos of 1930s Weimar German Cabaret that was a sleazy, subversive celebration of life. Bernie Dieter’s show captures the essence of this “debauchery” with its line -up of “misfits” and “freaks” and elevates it to an extremely polished level. The show features a collection of weird and wonderful performers that all equally ooze charisma, stage presence and mischief. The line-up includes Lucky Hell a shocking sword-swallower, Sugar Du Jour a fabulous burlesque performer, world champion pole-dancer Blue Phoenix. Also performing is Fancy Chance, who hangs and flies and glides around the tent connected by her hair, and a beautiful aerial duo known as Two Fathoms. The performers expertly blend comedy, shock-factor, athleticism and artistry to create a truly unique, sometimes hilarious and often touching experience. Bernie Dieter combines old and new, pays homage to the history of cabaret whilst creating something totally modern and fresh. Bernie is the master of ceremonies for the night, it is a role she knows well and performs with ease and relish, performing her own comedic numbers as well as complementing the other performers routines with her silky vocals. Her voice soars with the impeccable live band and is the perfect flourish to the aerial and pole routines. Her shamelessly flirtatious and mischievous interaction with the crowd is a high point, perfectly timed yet always feeling spontaneous and unpredictable. The show runs for 140 minutes including an interval, keeping each act at 50 minutes, the perfect amount to ensure the audience stays on the edge of their seats in anticipation and disbelief at the acts they are witnessing. Seats are placed in the round and tightly packed together, enabling the reactions of audience members to become a highlight of the show itself. Seeing each other laugh, scream, cheer and spill drinks is all part of the fun. It is as a cabaret show should be; a raucous, joyous, messy, shared experience. It is exciting to see Bernie Dieter’s Club Kabarett as a headline event of Sydney Fringe Festival as it is bringing alternative performers to a more mainstream Sydney audience. It is wonderful to think of all of the people sitting in the audience who will be inspired for the first time to seek out local alternative burlesque, circus and physical theatre performers and who will potentially go support them at local bars and venues. Bernie Dieter’s Club Kabarett is a spectacular event and a devilishly good time, you will be surprised and thrilled, you will laugh and you will leave with a sense of gratitude for the unifying and healing art of live performance. If you have ever felt the desire to escape from your troubles by running away to the circus, Bernie Dieter's Club Kabarett is the place for you. Everyone is welcome. Bernie Dieter’s Club Cabaret is rated R18+

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