Interview with Bernie Dieter: Mistress of ‘Weimer’-style cabaret
Cabaret queen Bernie Dieter and her band of misfits are ready to take over an abandoned nightclub hidden in the depths of Crown, having transformed it into the ultimate modern kabarett club where punks, freaks and weirdos will come out to play. In Bernie Dieter’s Berlin Underground, audiences will be transported into Bernie’s dark and defiant den of iniquity, which is more immersive, more debauched, and more outrageous than ever before.
Dieter is the brains, brawn, bravado and brilliance behind ‘Little Death Club’, the long-running Fringe production that sees classic ‘Weimer’-style cabaret mixed in with modern – and always hilarious – humour. ‘Berlin Underground’ is all that and more.
The new show will include gender-bending aerial marvel Jarred Dewey, debauched drag sensation Scarlet Adams, whisky-swilling Cirque du Solei star Reuben Dot Dot Dot, hula hooping vixen Lisa Lottie (of La Soiree fame), and firecracker of a pole-dance champion Ruby Lai.
Beneath the red lights and a thick haze, a Weimar punk soundtrack pulses from the haus band, making way for a lushed-up Bernie who begins surveying the club for her prey. Nothing is off limits and no seat is safe, so grab a shot of something strong and enter the darkest, funniest, and most debauched club this side of Berlin.
Here, Bernie chats with Cream about the importance of performance post-Covid and the beauty in celebrating diversity amongst peeps.
Interview by Antonino Tati
Hi Bernie. Some say your shows are a modern style of ‘Weimar Punk’. Others say it’s debauched cabaret (or ‘Kabarett’). You yourself say it’s a series that gets to show off the talents of your “favourite freaks, punks and weirdos”. Does it do your shows justice to pigeon-hole them?
I think it means different things to different people. I see it as a glorious celebration of difference, of the feminine, the masculine, and everything in between, of strength and beauty and confidence. I think we need more of that in the world right now.
There is quite a bit of gender-bending in your shows including the new production ‘Bernie Dieter’s Berlin Underground’. Why is non-binary gender-play a good thing?
I hope the shows open people’s minds so they can see that we are all beautiful, weird wonderful humans, and that whatever gender we subscribe to, we have more things in common than we realise.
There’s some talk about the love of alcohol in your performances. Can strictly sober people still enjoy the show?
Well my darling, as you know I do like a drink, and I think it does help some people to loosen up and be more open to having a good time. That being said, some of my best friends are tee-total and they can party harder and have more fun than most people. The show is for everyone that has a good sense of humour and the desire to engage with it.
“What couldn’t I leave home without when touring? Gin, ‘Lick My Pussy’ Tote bags, and probably more gin.”
Tell us a little about the music in the new show.
The music in the show is pretty eclectic. We try to write in whatever style suits the content of the song and we have collaborated with some great musicians. I have always loved Bowie and Queen and strong women like Siouxsie and the Banshees… The list is enormous!
Speaking of lists, what are three things you couldn’t leave home without when touring ‘Bernie Dieter’s Berlin Underground’?
Gin, ‘Lick My Pussy’ Tote bags, and probably more gin.
Finally, Bernie, if, when you get to Heaven or Hell, and the powers that be say you can bunk with any artist you like, who would that artist be? And what would you say to him or her when you greet them?
One day I’m hoping to meet Dolly Parton so I can ask her to pass me the gin and tell me her stories, because as I always say, ‘Hell is empty and all the devils are here’!
‘Bernie Dieter’s Berlin Underground’ is on at Crown Perth from November 17 to December 13, 2020.
Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.com.au.
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