Raising the Bar: Little Death Club

5 stars

Little Death Club has been a smash hit since its inception at FRINGE WORLD 2017, and rightly so.

The wildly, proudly different procession of performers that Bernie Dieter has unleashed on her adoring audience - to rapturous applause, time and again - is testament to the fact that we’re ready and willing to gnaw lustily on the fringe of performance art.

With a new show, a new headline timeslot, and a more tightly themed lineup of performers, this year’s Little Death Club takes the stunning success of previous festivals and elevates it to dizzying new heights.

Image courtesy of Ayesha Hussian

Image courtesy of Ayesha Hussian

As the audience enters the rapidly filling spiegeltent, the performers are already at work. Gingzilla prowls languidly through the aisles, playfully accosting the crowd. Lolo Brow ghosts across the boards, elegant and alien in costume. Lurking in the shadows is Dieter herself, the anticipation of what’s to come cooly wrought across her face.

Once we begin the show proper, Dieter stalks the stage like a bird of prey, an image accentuated by the feathered epaulettes of her outfit. Her head sweeps, raptor-like, snapping to a stop as she focuses on the next audience member into whom her sexual talons will sink.

As the evening unfolds, we’re exposed to one jaw dropping performance after another, each expertly dissecting and reforming gender norms in their own unique way.

A grotesque, hyper sexualised image of desire is stripped away, revealing the powerful, anarchic woman beneath.

A towering ginger goddess sings a beautiful and hideous ode to love lost, leaving the audience simultaneously spellbound and cringing in referred sticky revulsion.

A gorgeously androgynous contortionist twists themselves, popping both their own joints and the eyes of entire rows of the crowd at a time.

A one-woman carnival sideshow elicits alternating gasps and stunned silence with an escalating series of shocking acts heavily featuring the contents of a hardware store.

And throughout it all, ringmastering this wonderful circus of unearthly pleasures, is Dieter. Her voice fills the tent until we’re overwhelmed; her raw animal sexuality ripples out like a maple syrup flood, filling the space until we’re drowning and howling for more.

For all it’s thrills, it’s ultimately an uplifting celebration of the different, of the other that is so often shunned in a repetitive societal phenomenon of exclusion. We’re here to not only marvel in the spectacular talents of the performers, but also to shower them with much deserved adoration.

Buy tickets from the FRINGE WORLD website.