Bernie Dieter. Adelaide Cabaret Festival The Banquet Room. Adelaide Festival Centre. June 24-25 2022
Reviewed by Peter Wilkins
|Bernie Dieter in Weimar Punk
She is the wildcat of the cabaret. the dark and debauched mistress of the decadent art of lasciviousness. Weimar Punk is her domain and she is its dominatrix. With a voice that can grind gravel one moment and soar to the sky the next, her power is absolute. Bernie Dieter is supreme commandant of her audience, mesmerizing and demonic, unpredictably surprising, shocking and irreverent, tantalizing and seductively sexual. From The Slits’ Typical Girls to Marlene Dietrich’s Ich Hab’ noch einen koffer in Berlin ( I still have a suitcase in Berlin) to Paul Kelly’s Everybody Wants To Touch Me and Indie rock band MGMT’s Time To Pretend Dieter demonstrates her phenomenal range and power packed voice, backed by a band that hurl themselves into her wildness and provocative magnetism.
Suddenly, the classic cabaret look of the Weimar period is broken with the removal of her Louise Brooks styled black wig and Dieter launches into the swaggering rhythm and wild abandonment of a drinking song to close her show. It is the song of liberation, of individual freedom and of unrestrained love. ‘There’s some scary shit out there” she says, pointing to the outside world. In memory of her Oma she invites her audience to embrace the love and revel in the celebration of the spirit of her cabaret. Unconventional in its repertoire and yet true to the spirit of the classic anarchic cabaret of 1930’s Berlin, Weimar Punk’s High Priestess reminds us all to care for each other against the forces that would seek to oppress or control. Dieter’s defiant Weimar Punk unleashes the power to face the “scary shit” out there.
Photos by Claudio Raschella