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Bernie Dieter Is Drawn To The Weirdos

Interviewed by Claira Prider

Known for genre-bending performances that embrace the most talented misfits and freaks, Bernie Dieter, queen of Weimar punk, will return to Perth's Fringe World with her ensemble of outcasts to entice, tease, arouse and delight audiences.

Described as a cross between Lady Gaga, Marlene Dietrich and Frank-N-Furter in sequins, Bernie Dieter is the dirty, flirty, witty hostess as well as the mastermind behind this internationally renowned work, 'Bernie Dieter's Club Kabarett'. Prepare for mind-blowing trapeze and aerial artists, dizzying pole dancers, fire breathing acrobats and more.

Bernie serves as hostess, performer, and risqué human jukebox as she and the house band provide decadent backing tracks for the other artists with original tunes and covers that tickle all of the senses. “I’ve never thought of myself as a certain type of musician, I just focus on how I can best tell this story,” Bernie says. From Dietrich to opera to electronic dance music, there are no stylistic compositional rules – it all comes back to serving the story which makes the work so raw and engaging.

“The band is the beating heart of the show. When we perform live, it’s really like a duet; you’re responding to what’s happening live in the room and people feel that,” she says. Discussing the importance of live performance (especially after lockdowns): “What’s really at the heart of every show is human connection. Being in a room full of humans, laughing, drinking together and sharing the experience which is happening just for us, you can really feel it in the room and it brings the show to a whole new level.”

“I’ve always been drawn to the weirdos. I love humans and I love how weird and wonderful and diverse we are, and I love to celebrate that.”

Since her early career days, Bernie has met incredible artists who push the boundaries of their art form – they inspire and challenge, but aren’t necessarily being appreciated in mainstream genres. “I’ve always loved the art form of cabaret in general, but specifically I’ve always been excited by those people who are doing something a bit different and wanting to give them a platform where they can do the thing that only they can do the best in the world. In platforming misfits, it also makes our audience feel seen; everyone feels like an outcast at times, everyone is a bit weird and wonderful in their own way, so they can really connect with it.”

Photo by Theresa Harrison

First performing at Perth's Fringe World in 2012 in a cabaret duo, Bernie’s got a soft spot for the festival, having been involved every year since. “I love Perth audiences. They love to get a little bit naughty and really give themselves fully – they’re so welcoming and open, it’s one of my favourite places to play.”

'Club Kabarett' will be performed in Fringe World’s newest and largest venue, L’Euro Grande, which sees Northbridge’s old European Foods Warehouse transformed into an 804-seat theatre with cabaret tables, premium and standard seating. With a catwalk down the middle and seating on three sides of the stage, Bernie and her band will be raising the roof of L’Euro Grande, just steps from the Pleasure Garden.

Inspired by Germany’s 1920s Weimar cabaret scene, 'Club Kabarett' is an intimate, engaging and sensual celebration of creative and sexual freedom and non-conformity. The ultimate in-your-face-funny, saucy evening.


'Bernie Dieter's Club Kabarett' plays L'Euro Grande (Fringe World Perth) 19 January-18 February.


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