Review: Bernie Dieter's Club Kabarett @ Fringe World (Perth) 2024

Bernie Dieter - Image © Theresa Harrison
Joshua (he/him) is from Boorloo, Western Australia. Outside writing for scenestr and FROOTY, he is an active member of the arts and cultural industries, specialising in Film and Theatre management.

Perth's Fringe World 2024 is off to an explosive start with the world premiere of Bernie Dieter’s 'Club Kabarett' – an intense variety and circus show.

Set in Northbridge’s L'Euro Grande, the performance is 120 minutes of prime delicacies.

After sell-out shows around the world, and straight from a three-month season in London’s glittering West End, the iconic host and Queen of Punk Kabarett sets her sights on Perth with a brand-new troupe of bombastic bohemians, and dazzling darlings.

'Club Kabarett' is a nostalgic hot take of late-'70s punk and grunge, wrapped up in modern music, rock-n-roll performances, and daredevil feats. From polished pyrotechnics in batons and fire breathing, bedazzled matador burlesque numbers, gravity-defying aerialist and acrobatic works with silk, to extreme displays of the human body with pole-dancing, contortionism, and so much more!

The performances are bite-sized, with consistent change overs that kept the audience invested. The crowd work by Dieter is engaging, and humorous, encouraging a continuous buy-in for the Club aesthetic, peppered with anecdotes and affirmations about the world we live in. 'Club Kabarett' is inspiring in all senses of the word, from the highly skilled performers, to the overall take-away from the show.

BernieDieter ClubKab1

There are moments where a tonal shift breaks the audience attention – a slow number with Radiohead, likely used to give entertainers a chance to change or prepare. But the pay-off is in a solo-contortionist performance to electronic music. Audiences may note that these are typically accompanied by juggling or strip-tease performance, but 'Club Kabarett' gives the whole stage to this performer, which is absolutely entrancing and a welcome breather.

When a tech member carries a ballerina to stage, and then clips the rigging to their hair, the crowd is audibly excited. The performer begins acrobatic tricks in the air, suspended by a ballet bun – a stage-stealing performance!

Overall, 'Club Kabarett' does exceptionally well at monitoring anticipation, and knows how to build peaks. Audience participation and engagement is limited (for those who may be put off by such things), but their ability to maximise excitement and joy is palpable. The closing act is high energy, and camp, leaving the audience electrified.

'Club Kabarett' is a five-star staple performance any Fringe-goer needs to add to their 2024 schedule.

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