An alluring reminder to live.
The perfect combination of dark humour, reflective moments, and acts that will have you holding your breath in awe and anticipation, Bernie Dieter’s Berlin Underground is a journey that one can only truly understand once they have experienced it for themselves.
Bernie Dieter (known by many in Perth from her performances during Fringe World Festival) is best described as a Queen of Weimar punk kabarett. She has an innate ability to both mesmerise an audience with her hauntingly beautiful ballads and bring the house down with raucous laughter in one sitting.
The Bernie Dieter experience begins as soon as you enter the vicinity. Upon arrival, I was greeted by a fabulous drag queen who told me to ‘leave my woes at the door,’ and led through the cast’s dressing room into the depths of Crown.
The immersive experience continues as you enter the main area underground. The low lights, haze, and lively chatter of the patrons are a backdrop to the captivating sounds of the Weimar-punk jazz band.
From the moment the crowd are seated and Bernie hit the stage with the opening number ‘Let’s Do It Here’, we are instantly drawn into the salacious and hilarious nature of the show coupled with the truly amazing vocals of Bernie herself.
It also becomes apparent that audience participation isn’t just encouraged by Bernie and her team – it’s expected.
Whilst weaving her way through the crowd, Bernie’s encourages her audience to live in the moment; telling us to be vocal throughout the show to express our excitement and astonishment at what we were about to witness.
This is something that was easily obeyed by the audience throughout the entire show due to the amazing talents of Bernie’s team of misfits.
Rueben Dot Dot’s whiskey swilling and audience interactive tricks, Lisa Lottie’s mesmerising hula hoop routine, and the mischievous performance by Perth’s own Scarlet Adams create an atmosphere of salacious intrigue that left the audience positively enthralled.
Jarred Dewey’s aeriel trapeze performance also had the audience holding their breath. Jarrad’s innate ability to seamlessly manoeuvre his way around the trapeze (at one point hanging upside down held to the bar only the heels of his stiletto’s) was incredible.
Towards the end of the show Bernie took a moment to talk about the impact of COVID-19 on her life over the past year.
From having shows cancelled, to living above a bar in Melbourne that only opened twice during her lease – Bernie captures an emotion we have all felt in 2020 and shares it in a strikingly raw way through her rendition of David Bowie’s ‘Five Years.’
She also tells the audience the about her 87-year-old Oma back home in Europe. She tells us that her Oma is one of her biggest inspirations, and how due to the current state of the world it’s possible she may never see her again.
Despite the heartache the audience feels for Bernie, she shares that her Oma taught her two main lessons – lessons you really need to hear directly from Bernie herself.
Due to the overwhelming (and rightly placed) positive response, Bernie Dieter’s Berlin Underground run has recently been extended to December 19.
Be sure to grab a ticket for a night that is sure to make you remember the thrill and excitement of life itself.
For more Bernie Dieter, check out our review of Little Death Club from earlier in the year.
Featured Image: Alistair Veryard Photography