“Stop watching cats on YouTube; start watching the Fringe!” commands provocative host Bernie Dieter – fabulous and salacious cabaret seductress who presents the bright show (despite its title), Little Death Club.
It’s cabaret in classic German-meets-French presentation style, but with so many contemporary twists, featuring an array of performance artists, all handpicked by Bernie herself.
Wasting no time in getting intimate, the show’s hostess parades her posse of spunky men, charging them to undress her, touch her, lick her, love her – which all sounds very over-the-top but is all so insanely satisfying to watch.
To say this is a fun show is an understatement. Bernie is a master show-woman who adores her audience as much as they love her.
Expect to be “destroyed” with improper song lyrics, sex poetry, kinky bed jokes, vicious quips, and plenty of raucous audience participation, all resulting in rousing screams from the crowd, along with stomping, laughter and standing ovations.
If you’re not being treated to Bernie’s sexual escapades, you’re being entertained by a bearded black drag queen who spookily channels Olivia Newton-John’s Sandy from Grease, or delighting in the oddity of a bogan pole-dancing chick who sculls goon and gyrates to AC/DC songs. It’s a delicious hilarity where all rules are broken.
Top festival guest, Marcel Lucont, then takes to the stage to recite some louche sex poetry in his hilarious dry but witty manner, all wrapped in a charming accent and princely act. His full production, Marcel Lucont: A Chat Show features a different guest performer from the Fringe program and is packed with impromptu bawdy banter – and a live band. Another show on my must-see list.
Then there’s Party Ghosts, an intriguing blend of ghoulish postmodernist circus, performing a slow-mo, somewhat eerie but talented set of acrobatics.
The final guest looked like she had been plucked straight out of iconic Aussie flick The Adventures of Pricilla Queen of the Desert: a drag act like you’ve never seen, literally begging the question, “What the f#*$?!”. Her performance will leave you in the mood for drinking and karaoke, put it that way.
So, if you want to be seduced by Bernie and her ‘Little Death Club’ and be “destroyed like a Death Star” then step into this world of deviant adult mayhem.
My pick of the Fringe Festival so far. A must-see show. But beware, tickets to this production are selling fast. Annette McCubbin
‘Little Death Club’ is on at the De Parel Spiegeltent at The Pleasure Garden, James Street, Northbridge, Perth February 9-10, 16-17, and 23-24.
Tickets are available through www.fringeworld.com.au.
Performance photography by Annette McCubbin.