bernie Dieter

Bernie Dieter’s Club Kabarett

Assembly Festival Gardens, Coventry


‘Vell, hello, my daarhlings!’ ‘I hope you didn’t bring your parents!’ Bernie Dieter erupts on to the stage amid the roar of a three-piece rock band at full pelt and an anticipatory crowd for the first night of a supremely sleazy circus, hot from Sydney but in the fullest tradition of Weimar Germany at the zenith of its decadent days. It’s burlesque for the open-minded. I loved it.

Bernie Dieter, to quote her, ‘has assembled a troupe of punks, freaks and weirdos’, in reality, a bawdy sword swallower (that does not do justice to her skills!), a fire eater (nor does that!), acrobats and … well, you get the idea. For example, if you have a spare couple of weeks, have a go at lying upside down on the chaise longue, scantily clad, twirling four cushion covers on all four limbs simultaneously…I’ll have a go later.

Bernie Dieter is a fantastic singer, and the songs ranged from the raucous to the wonderfully sleepy ‘Where is the little girl’ accompanying a well-toned male acrobat in Ann Summers-style get up – suspenders couldn’t deal with the contortions demanded and I’m just surprised that human muscles can.


As a finale, her song ‘A is for Alcohol’, with a gulp of neat gin straight from the bottle, she announces that her granny taught her to drink, whoever taught her to sing needs a pat on the back.

Granny had a circus in Soviet-time East Germany and that’s the over-riding feeling from this wonderful show. It’s elegantly planned and executed and, though it felt anarchic, it was beautifully controlled and really embracing. Bernie Dieter has a real warmth and wit, plus reads her audience really well, though clearly had her targets for closer interview, generally in the front row…

If you haven’t been to the Assembly Festival Gardens, they are worth a look; opposite Coventry Town Hall, on the site of the old Civic Centre 4. There’s a wealth of choice, a number of bars, venues and street food outlets.

It’s a great place to just ‘be’; the shows, sometimes top comedians trying new material, and, I’m told, often on their way up to Edinburgh for the festival or the fringe so it might save you a trip. Last year, we went to one show three times… Bernie, we’ll be back in Weimar soon. Twice nightly to 12-06-22.

Jane Howard


Coventry City of Culture

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