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Fringe Review: Little Death Club @ Underbelly's Circus Hub

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Bernie Dieter’s Little Death Club is a “Weimar punk” style cabaret that is dark, dirty, and down-right delicious fun.

Dieter, as master of ceremonies, is the rebellious love-child of the Grand High Witch and Morticia Addams as she rouses the crowd with her flirtatious cooings and comically piercing stare.

Images courtesy of Chloe Nelkin Consulting

After screaming a rock solo into her mic whilst being carried back to the stage by three terrified members of the audience, Dieter introduced the rest of her acts. First on stage was Jess Love who performed a comically lack-lustre hula-hoop routine that, even when she missed some of her tricks, was still hilarious. Mingled with some shock humour when she stripped completely naked in the midst of her ‘big finish’, Love was incredible and set the tone for the evening.

Indeed, following Love was the ‘bearded lady’ Kitty Bang Bang who, after a misleadingly dainty ballet routine, stripped to reveal a red one-piece with an attached fake beard on the crotch. Appearing later in the background of other acts performing an array of acrobatics, she closed the show with a stunning fire-eating routine.

Similarly, Oliver Smith-Wellnitz showed equal gymnastic prowess with their elegant performance on the double-bar trapeze. Whereas the other acts were filled with clapping, hooting, and stomping, Smith-Wellnitz brought a stunned silence to the audience, wowing the crowd with a grace heightened by Dieter’s wistful singing.

From gasps to laughs, it was Myra DuBois drag routine that caught me by surprise the most. Simply entering and gesturing for each side to cheer, something they repeated for a solid minute, was enough to leave most of the crowd in stiches. Their main act, a duet with the lead singer missing, was one of the funniest things I have seen in a long time and DuBois spent most of it staring silently into the distance.

These performances were generally spaced out by sketch-acts. Dieter bust out a few bawdy comedy songs with memorable lyrics such as “Lick my pussy” and “Dick pic…Naked mole rat” whilst later a pseudo-french mime act (Josh Glanc) lamented over a career in working with things that “aren’t real”. While these pieces were a refreshing break from the intensity of the other acts, they occasionally fell short of the mark and felt more like time-buying exercises than performances in their own right.

Regardless, when Dieter announced that they would be performing the final song there was a collective gasp from the audience as we snapped out of the immersion. But, with an ode to alcohol from the whole cast, the “candy-striped sphincter” of a tent was alive with laughter and excitement. By far, Little Death Club was the highlight of my Fringe experience.

Little Death Club is performing at Underbelly's Circus Hub from August 22nd-25th, and tickets info can be found here.

This article is part of our coverage of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Click here to read other articles written by our contributors. 
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