Review: Little Death Club at Underbelly Circus Hub

Bernie Dieter bursts on to stage to remind us that life is a cabaret, darlings, and a twisted and slightly perverted one at that.

With more cabaret and variety on this year’s Fringe than my showgirl heart can handle, it can be difficult to find something truly unique, but that’s exactly what host Dieter and Little Death Club’s gang of beautiful hooligans offer up in spades.

From the minute Dieter takes to the stage, her voice, Dietrich-esque presence, and wicked sense of humour control the room. Think Sally Bowles if she had self-respect and sung about dick pics, Dieter conjures up a Weimar gin joint of days gone by, while also creating something truly modern and new. Each of the acts in this foot stomping, tit swinging, gasp-inducing romp is daredevil, hilarious or stunning in its own right – or a combination of all three. On top of that, each cleverly subverts one of the traditional forms of circus or cabaret performance, gently poking fun at itself and the genre, while violently mocking respectability politics, and the poor innocent gent in the audience who came with his mum (who loved it). 

My absolute pick of the Fringe this year, Little Death Club took my hungover, grumpy soul and nourished it. Dieter’s band is tight, her burlesque performers are comedic devils, her comedians are satirical whizzes and her circus performers are glorious, gender-bending and death-defying. She is breathing kinky life back into the genre, one unsuspecting male audience member at a time.

Bernie Dieter’s Little Death Club, Underbelly Circus Hub on the Meadows, 10th-26 Aug (not 13), 8pm

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