Home » London Theatre Reviews » Bernie Dieter’s Berlin Underground at Underbelly Festival | Review

Bernie Dieter’s Berlin Underground at Underbelly Festival | Review

Recently I’ve been watching a lot of the Tokyo Olympics especially the kind of sports you watch once every four years and then forget about completely until the games come around again. What always amazes me is the way athletes have such total control of their bodies contorting them in all sorts of incredible positions that don’t seem possible – just watch Max Whitlock winning the gold medal on the pommel horse or what they get up to in Rhythmic Gymnastics using hoops and other apparatus; it’s stunning what the human body can be trained to do.

Little Finch in Berlin Underground at Underbely Festival Cavendish Sq credit Craig Sugden.
Little Finch in Berlin Underground at Underbely Festival Cavendish Sq credit Craig Sugden.

So, if you didn’t get to see any of the games on TV and you want to see some mindboggling gymnastic displays set to loud rock music get yourself down to the new location of the Underbelly Festival in Cavendish Square and in the perfect environment of a German Spiegeltent, you’ll be transported to Berlin in Bernie Dieter’s Berlin Underground.

Every cabaret show needs a Master of Ceremonies and in this case, it’s the eponymous Bernie Dieter who not only MC’s the show but sings a number of songs too. Some are punk, some are heavy metal but on the whole, they’re pretty lewd and often crude. German-born Dieter is known as (and I quote) “the undisputed Queen of punk cabaret” and she has a superb, very loud voice which she uses to good effect. Unfortunately to me, she came across a lewd, crude Meow Meow and without the Australian cabaret star’s considerable charm.

As for the acts I mentioned earlier, these acrobats and contortionists are all excellent although they’re no different to other acts you’ll see in similar cabaret shows or even Cirque du Soleil. In between Dieter’s warbling, you get Lisa Lottie who certainly knows her way around a hula hoop or ten. She does amazing things with them and manages to spin them on parts of the anatomy I didn’t think possible and some of them even light up (the hula hoops that is!). Then there’s Little Finch which is made up of Ben Finch-Brown and Jonathan Finch-Brown (Brothers? Partners?). Ben does anatomy defying things on a ring suspended from the ceiling of the tent and Jonathan does handstands and other gravity-defying stunts on pads on sticks. Dressed as matelots they then combine to fold themselves into impossible bone and muscle defying knots suspended from a large anchor – hello sailors and anchors away! I see chronic arthritis in their futures. Last but by no means least, there’s Jao who started out as a ballerina but now bends her body around a pole using her dance training and athleticism to seemingly hold her body upside down by wrapping her ankle around the pole. Whilst the other acts could be seen to have links to the Olympics, pole dancing isn’t yet an Olympic sport but with the new sports appearing in the current games such as wall climbing, surfing and skateboarding, maybe they’ll include pole dancing next time?

As you may have gathered, this wasn’t my cup of tea. There’s nothing really original in the acrobatic acts and Bernie Dieter and her band are very, very loud. However, if you want a loud, boozy night out with lots of whooping and hollering whilst watching scantily dressed athletic performers contort their bodies into unnatural shapes, then this is the show for you.

3 Star Review

Review by Alan Fitter

Bernie Dieter’s Berlin Underground brings gin-soaked debauchery and edge-of-your-seat thrills to the Spiegeltent in the heart of the West End this July and August.

Über-award-winning kabarett superstar Bernie Dieter brings you her brand new cast of misfits for an unforgettable night of sexy circus, debauched drag and dangerously funny sideshow, soundtracked by her Weimar-punk jazz band.

Nothing is off limits, no seat is safe, grab a shot of something strong and enter the darkest, funniest club this side of Berlin for one of the best nights out this summer.

Bernie Dieter’s Berlin Underground
28th July – 29th August 2021


1 thought on “Bernie Dieter’s Berlin Underground at Underbelly Festival | Review”

  1. {s)he is so wrong!

    I loved it… very good indeed. Loved the sailor boys especially the first one; what an acrobat! Intrigued to see who or what Bernie was….. the drummer [she was good; band reminiscent of Tiger Lilies – fine by me]..not so keen on the hula hooper but she was certainly confident and that was a bit of an issue for me… I could see her miming “for fuck’s sake” to the audience and I for one do not like to be bullied by a performer when I have paid for my ticket and have been looking forward to my first theatrical experience for ….uhm, has it really been over a year? Bernie did indeed turn out to be a woman as I suspected [wondered if it was perhaps one of the chaps in the band] but then it was her, the main singer, the spine of the show, the originator, the writer and what a voice! Competently produced and I am critical being a producer myself… so give it a go… you might be surprised at what I considered a denouement…. the sweet pretty [Vietnamese? not sure] pole dancer who was the only one of the troupe who, to me [not my husband] seemed NOT to be enjoying herself.. Shame except it made me think,,,, here was politics. coming on swathed in labels, SLUT, SHAME whatever….. female exploitation? etc etc. I could not smile at this one. She singlehandedly changed the whole tone of the show for me. Bernie began not so confidently… diction not good but \i did hear was it SNATCH or some other synonym for vagina? Thought of Sophie Tucker [yes, I am 69 and remember her. My mother said she hated her. Crude, bulgar…. anyhow, maybe Bernie had heard about this sort of thing from her adored grandmother… how sweet to write such a show and dedicate it to her.. Granny/Nanny/ Nana would be proud of you, Bernie. Love the removal of the wig [my son, Guy Woolf a.k.a. Electra Cute [Glam ru’s Denim] does similarly in one (wo)man show. Apologies for the [unashamed] advertising…… back to Bernie. Keep goin’ my dear. You is one talented lady and I for one wish you the best of everything. Keep going, keep going but do not go.

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