Review by Michelle Sutton
Even rain and lightning could not dim the gleeful smiles and excitement of the crowd enjoying the drinks and food trucks at the Runaway Gardens precinct at the Rocks on Thursday night. This was the location of the sold-out opening night of Bernie Dieter’s Club Kabarett at the Famous Spiegeltent. Presented as part of Sydney Fringe Festival and supported by Placemaking NSW, Dead Man Label and the NSW CBD Revitalisation Program, Club Kabarett had been meticulously planned and organised by the list of organisations, who could not hide their obvious pride and excitement at opening night through speeches and toasts, each celebrating their efforts as well as emphasising the need for more support for the arts in Sydney. I would say going off of first impressions of the venue alone that all of their hard work and collaboration had more than paid off, with an idyllic spot at First Fleet Park, outside the Museum of Contemporary Art with a view of the Opera House and Sydney Harbour. The Famous Spiegeltent emanates an alluring blend of history, glamour and debauchery; it is the perfect place to escape for a night.
Bernie Dieter is an award-winning, highly acclaimed cabaret star who has performed around the world including the West End. Her cabaret show runs for an hour and 40 minutes and features a live band, comedy, circus arts, an aerial performer, fire-eating and much more. Performers include J’aiMime who dazzles and slightly bewilders with a truly original and thoroughly enjoyable act and Lisa Lottie who performs an immaculate hula hoop routine with equal amounts of talent, technique and character. Matthew Pope stuns with two very different aerial routines, the second of which is set to a tender ballad sung very movingly by Bernie Dieter. Pope’s movement is powerful and beautiful and provides a very welcome depth of tone and feeling throughout the night. Rueben DotDotDot involves the audience in his impressive acrobatics and Blue Phoenix thrills with a pole dance performance. Jacqueline Furey keeps the energy high with her erotic death-defying fire-eating number.
All of the artists assembled are seasoned performers and add to the value of the night however Bernie Dieter is the circus ringleader and the glue that holds the show together. She has the crowd eating out of the palm of her hand with her electric stage presence, fierce eye contact and comedic timing. Her singing voice is sultry and commanding. She fearlessly, mischievously and expertly transports the audience to the world of Weimar Germany’s Kabarett, where nothing is boring and tame, every moment is is lived out loud in colour and enjoyed. Club Kabarett is a roaring success; it is playful, sensual, satirical and outrageously fun. Bernie Dieter more than lives up to her legendary status, cementing herself as a global icon and leader of entertainment and decadent frivolity. She has graced our shores with her signature style of cabaret at exactly the right time and with exactly what Sydney has been crying out for. Bernie Dieter’s Club Kaberett is delighting audiences until the 12th of March with many shows already selling out! Grab a ticket quickly if you too would like to escape to Weimar Germany for a night to play without any consequences.