‘A kind of seductive circus of misfits’: LITTLE DEATH CLUB – Underbelly Festival

In Cabaret, Circus, London theatre, Opinion, Reviews by Rev StanLeave a Comment

Underbelly Festival, London – until 23 June 2019

Little Death Club is a cabaret of the late night variety, a kind of seductive circus of misfits and certainly not for the prudish.

Introduced by the catsuit and feathers-wearing Bernie Dieter, the club, we are told, is all about looking up from our phones, really seeing each other and throwing inhibitions to one side. To demonstrate she heads into the audience to be stroked and touched, in a cringe-a-long experience that perhaps goes on a bit longer than its entertainment value justifies. Bernie reappears between acts with bawdy songs – one is themed around a dick pic she was sent (which she shares).

The show is a mixture of thrilling physical feats – aerial acrobatics, hair-hanging and fire-eating with drag and more humorous turns mixed in.

Contortionist and acrobat Beau Sargeant has an immediate stage presence and earned the loudest response from the audience – deservedly so. Drag Queen Myra Dubois’ rendition of ‘I Know Him So Well’ is equally a hit, as are her witty ad-libs.

But Little Death Club isn’t the sum of all its parts. A couple of pieces feel like over extended jokes that weren’t that hilarious in the first place.

The bearded lady’s reveal sets the tone for subsequent acts. A clever fire-eating act turns into something more cheeky with flaming nipple tassels and the hair-hanging act switches from graceful aerial dance to strip show.

The nudity can feel like a device to bolster weaker acts. There is something sexy and seductive in suggestion but these moments leave nothing to the imagination instead come across as a cheap distraction.

The Cast of Little Death Club at Underbelly Festival Southbank. Photo: Alistair Veryard Photography

Little Death Club has some real highlights but the quality is inconsistent. Perhaps a show that would better serve a late night, well-refreshed crowd.

I’m giving it ⭐️⭐️⭐️. See it at Underbelly on the South Bank until June 23.

You might also like to read:

A Simple Space has returned to Underbelly, I reviewed the show in 2015.

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Rev Stan
Revstan really is a reverend (it's amazing what you can buy on the internet) but not a man (the Stan bit is a long story). By day, she is a freelance editor and copywriter; at night, she escapes into the world of theatre and has been blogging about it at theatre.revstan.com since 2007. She says: “I'll watch pretty much anything, from something performed on a stage the size of a tea tray to the West End and beyond. The only exception is musicals. Tried 'em and they just don't do anything positive for me.”
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Rev Stan
Revstan really is a reverend (it's amazing what you can buy on the internet) but not a man (the Stan bit is a long story). By day, she is a freelance editor and copywriter; at night, she escapes into the world of theatre and has been blogging about it at theatre.revstan.com since 2007. She says: “I'll watch pretty much anything, from something performed on a stage the size of a tea tray to the West End and beyond. The only exception is musicals. Tried 'em and they just don't do anything positive for me.”

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