Underbelly Festival, London – until 23 June 2019
On the one hand, you might consider Little Death Club as just another late night cabaret show (albeit one spelled kabarett, the Weimar way). But on experiencing this extraordinary hour, currently residing in the South Bank’s Spiegeltent, you see that it really is more than that, something ferociously committed to the spirit of defiance in which this form was birthed.
The evening is compered by the incomparable Bernie Dieter (feathered shoulderpieces to die for, co-creator too along with Tom Velvick) but more significantly, she’s an integral part of the entire show. There’s no sense of her just clocking in to just introduce these performers, she’s fully invested in them, in their stories and even in the shortest of interludes, is able to convey something of this connection.
Dieter is also a fierce performer in her own right. She sets the mood for Little Death Club perfectly with an outrageously raucous and hilarious opening act in which no one is safe but later, as she accompanies contortionist Beau Sargent, she’s revealed as an utterly heartbreaking chanteuse, the high emotion of this collaboration is a properly spinetingling moment.
Elsewhere, the entertainment ranges from Myra DuBois’ spiky wit (heaven help you if you’re on the front row!) to Kitty Bang Bang’s fire-breathing like you haven’t seen before, with a dash of existential mime and hair-hanging and plenty more besides. There’s plenty of unconventional variety, huge amounts of wit and the kind of audience interaction from which only the most uptight would demur.
It’s this sense of community and connectedness that makes Little Death Club work so well as it celebrates diversity and difference as well as extreme dexterity. Dieter and her company throw their arms open with love and dare you not to hug back. There might be a little groping on the side too but that’s all part of the fun…
Running time: 60 minutes (without interval)
Photos: Alistair Veryard Photography
Little Death Club is booking at the Underbelly Southbank Festival until 23rd June, really not one for the kids though…
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