Adelaide Fringe Festival Review & Photos: Little Death Club – The Black Forest, Royal Croquet Club (Performances until 19th March)

Little Death Club is not like most cabaret shows. The slightly twisted and strange collection of acts is what would be classified as Fringe by people who complain that the fringe has become too safe and mainstream.

Dressed in black sequins and feather, MC Bernadette “Bernie” Byrne wanders through the crowd, greeting the seated guests and mentally working out who would be best to bring into the act later in the night. This is not a show to sit back and observe from the shadows, you will become part of the show somehow.

After a Showtime number, the first guest of the evening is introduced. Dressed impeccably in a grey suit, a older man proceeds to read from a sex education manual. The incongruity is palpable and hilariously strays off the written text into lewd yet somehow tasteful descriptions of various sex acts.

We are then introduced to the slightly odd cousin who, dressed in a too small leotard and carrying a bunch of flowers manages to unnerve a good proportion of the audience. By this point everyone is quite aware that they’re not here for a pleasant evening of entertainment, but a wild ride of the senses.

When Miss Teen USA comes on stage, there is a feeling that perhaps things are looking up, but slowly as her performance builds, it is clear that things have gone very, very wrong. Like watching a train wreck, you want to look away but it’s impossible.

The appearance of a red suited hulu hoop performer in a fringe show is as predictable as a hot dinner, and the bored look on her face was priceless. An unexpected strip tease and actual skills in the hoop department bought the audience back to attention.

This reprieve was short lived when our odd cousin thrust himself back on stage, this time minus the leotard, with a bunch of flowers somehow saving the audience from a full onslaught. However, once again the audience was left cringing and peering through fingers at what was unfolding before them.

When Bernie came back on stage to wrap up this shambolic show, we were reminded of the dark and seedy underground bars of Berlin. This is not a show to replace a night of sanitised television, but a show to confront and challenge you and tell your friends that you’ve ‘been to the fringe’.

Little Death Club plays out The Black Forest at the Royal Croquet Club until March 19th. Head HERE for tickets and more details. 

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The reviewer attended the show on February 26th.


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