Review By Tatum Stafford
If you only see one show at this year’s Perth Fringe World, make sure it’s Bernie Dieter’s Little Death Club. As a regular Perth Fringe-goer, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a show as captivating, entertaining or thematically sound as this one.
There was an electricity in the air that was almost tangible as we entered the stunning West Australian Spiegeltent for Friday night’s sold-out performance of ‘Little Death Club’. Onstage, an athletic stunt performer doing push ups and tricep dips, warming up. Behind her, a four-man-band jamming with incredible musicality to a hypnotic, almost electronic beat. And scattered around the audience, an array of performers, seemingly waiting to pounce onto the stage and make it their own.
As the lights dimmed, we were rewarded with a tableaux of the maiden of the night herself, Bernie Dieter in her iconic black floor-length unitard with feathered half-wings on her shoulders. Impeccably backlit, she launched into her opening number, the tongue-in-cheek “Let’s Do it Here”, with raucous laughter and applause from the entire audience.
The atmosphere was palpable as we were treated to two more performances: Michael Standen’s incredible hand balancing and a hilarious take on welding from “the human heatwave” Jacqueline Furey. The show was scattered with appearances from Miss Bernie herself, who was nimbly searching for a few choice audience members, remarking “the ones who avoid eye contact are the ones I love picking on the most.”
Veronica Thompson’s hair hanging routine sent shockwaves through the tent, and Art Simone, the 2019 Drag Queen of Australia’s rendition of “I Will Always Love You” (with a few side-splitting surprises) brought the house down. The show wound down with an emotive aerial piece from Michael Standen, who performed to a stunning original song by Bernie and the band.
Jacqueline Furey’s time on stage was far from over, as she re-entered with an astonishing fire-breathing routine that must be seen to be believed. After a rousing final song by Bernie, the cast assembled onstage for a final bow, and there was not one person in the audience who wasn’t whistling, stamping their feet or applauding passionately.
As Bernie puts it, “People in that scary world out there may shame you for being different, but in here we celebrate the different. We welcome all the misfits, miscreants and freaks of the world at the Little Death Club!” Buy a ticket (if you can get your hands on one) for what I believe is the most unmissable show of this year’s Perth Fringe season.
All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.