A cool blend of contemporary & retro culture

Bernie Dieter adds a touch of sentimentality to a show otherwise drenched in sex and sass

Bernie Dieter is going to do wonders for Crown’s somewhat tarnished reputation of late (read: James Packer and the dirty money laundering scandal over east).

Dieter’s brand of semi-debauched comedy and cabaret (or ‘kabarett’) is a clever segue for Crown Perth, practically implying ‘we’re cheeky but not in that nasty corporate way’.

The freshly launched production Bernie Dieter’s Berlin Underground sees the Crown nightclub in Burswood, Perth (once dubbed ‘Eve’) transformed into an underground-style den of decadence and semi-debauchery. Graffiti-ed partitions announce that ‘freaks and weirdos rule’ in this place, and once again Bernie brings an army of both with her.

Bernie Dieter owns the stage: she’s confident as all-hell, sexy – occasionally to the point of salacious, political without being too probing, and knows that we’ve all missed this sort of thing since the C-word entered the global vernacular at the start of this year.

This is raucous cabaret that forces you to switch off from the chaos and confusion of the outside world, presented in classic Weimer-style cabaret but with so many contemporary twists.

Wasting no time in getting intimate, the show’s hostess picks three hunky guys out of the crowd and charges them with the tasks of touching her and simply adoring her. She’s done this all before, of course, but not dressed in a virus-abating hazmat suit, which really does lend medical attire a whole new fashionista edge – as worn by her, at least.

To say this is a fun show is an understatement. Bernie is a master performer who adores her audience as much as they love her. But besides the laughs and sexy repartee, the girl really can sing.

Song lyrics run the gamut from bedtime stories to dick pic jokes; odes to her grandma to a torch-song about the tribulations of fame. But whether she’s being salacious or sentimental, this artist keeps her crowds very content.

I especially respected Dieter’s slow-tempo take of MGMT’s Time To Pretend, stripping the song of its electric eel-y sound and replacing this with a raw acoustic and genuine expression about the sadder aspects of the entertainment business.

Seeing Bernie perched at the edge of the stage, her wig torn off, sweat beads on her forehead, singing “forget about our mothers and our friends, we’re fated to pretend” does a good job in questioning the so-called glamour of life in the entertainment arena.

 

If you’re not being treated to Bernie’s sentimental side or her sexual escapades, you’re being entertained by an army of other artists. Such as contortionist Jarred Dewey, or alcohol-swigging acrobat Reuben Dot Dot Dot, or pole-dancing darling Ruby Lai.

A lot of the acts who pepper the show give you the impression you’ve seen them before – and if you’re a regular Fringe Festival goer, you probably have. But the truth is that I come to a Bernie Dieter show to see and hear the brilliance that is She. And even while some of this ringleader’s anecdotes have been heard before, I’m quite content to sit back slack-jawed and in awe of the madness and the marvelousness of it all.

Antonino Tati

 

Bernie Dieter’s Berlin Underground’ is on at Crown Perth with an extended season until Sunday 20th December. For tickets and information visit crownperth.com.au.

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