With the 2017 Fringe Guide almost reaching encyclopaedic proportions, variety shows are an essential mechanism for navigating the array of offerings.
'Little Death Club', as is apt for a Fringe show, shatters the pro-forma or established view of a variety show. Comedians do not simply trot out five to ten minutes of material that has been indiscreetly sliced out of the context of their show and plopped onto a toothpick for tasting.
Bernadette Byrne, the gin-infused cabaret diva familiar to Fringe goers as one half of East End Cabaret, has curated a rotating sideshow cast of comedians, both physical and verbal, with each performing a skit that is sordid and sexual. The title, 'Little Death Club', is inspired by the French expression for an orgasm: la petite morte. The moment of climax is like a tiny instant of death; consciousness is lost, allowing for an escape from the troubles of existence.
Bernie and her sensuous and macabre carnival aim to distract the audience from the tumult of our current global socio-political strife by delivering a comedic orgasm. Each artist has their own technique for inducing a rush of ecstasy; some gently caress, others are blunt.
Bernie is armed with riotous songs about wookie cosplay sex; Asher Treleaven saucily lampoons Mills & Boon, while Dimitri Hatton, Gypsy Wood and Jess Wood make indescribable use of their bodies to invoke shock and laughter; indescribable partly because it would be unfair to ruin the surprise but also because I am still partly processing what I witnessed.
If you were to compare Little Death Club to a sexual experience, it would be akin to the loss of one’s virginity; it is a little bit awkward, a little bit shocking but undoubtedly pleasurable enough to send you back for more.