The Briefs Factory is an independent collective featuring a diverse team of acrobats, burlesque and cabaret artists. Currently, the company is playing two exciting and energetic productions back – to – back at the Southbank – based, Melbourne Arts Centre.
Seven days ago their first show, ‘Hot Brown Honey’, literally blew the roof off the Fairfax Studio.
The critically – acclaimed, all – female troupe brought a special blend of entertainment and enlightenment to the space. Wrapped up in an audience – friendly message of racial unity and gender empowerment. these highly talented soul sisters made many new fans in the process.
Making a return trip to the city after a hugely successful national tour in 2015, this week it was the guys’ turn to rock the house.
As with ‘Hot Brown Honey’, opening night started off with a moving address by a respected community elder. (Once again, this thoughtful introduction set both an inclusive and positive tone for the rest of the night).
‘Briefs’ is made up of seven talented and award – winning lads who know how to raise room temperature to fever pitch. With Viva Las Vegas and Parisian chic as their possible spirit guides, the art of stripping is pushed to its creative limits.
In similar style, groups like Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo use the novelty value of men dancing roles traditionally played by women. Once viewers are able to accept that gender – bending difference, then they can appreciate the immense strength and flexibility it takes to handle such a challenging role reversal.
‘Briefs’ positively drips with self – aware charm. Further, the troupe’s individual and collective performance skills are also brought to the fore.
With more than a dozen routines that give the experience magnetic emotional interest, the show’s ninety – minute running length combines high energy and pure athleticism from start to finish. ‘Briefs’ may be enjoyed both as the sum of its parts and a cohesive whole; each cast member is showcased to maximum appeal. At times, ‘Briefs’ feels less like a variety act and more like an exclusive party.
Hosted by a towering mistress of ceremonies with legs for days, Shivannah (played by Fez Fa’anana) has a razor – sharp tongue that is guaranteed to keep everyone in stitches. What makes this glamazon even more fabulous is that her humour goes there, and she says what everyone is probably thinking. Who else could come up with the killer line, ‘My mum thinks I’m actually down here playing rugby league’, and make you believe it!
Some of ‘Briefs’ many highlights include:
- Dallas Dellaforce, and her manic pair of lip – synchronized tributes to divas like Nana Mouskouri, Celine Dion, Lady GaGa and Lana Turner.
- Thomas Worrell’s sensitive and daring aerial hoop and ribbon dances.
- the Evil Hate Monkey’s ring of fire.
- Louis Biggs’ dexterous hat juggling, as well as a yoyo and Rubik’s cube – themed disrobing that has to be seen to be believed.
- competitive canines and their equally cutthroat owners in a dog – eat – dog throw down.
- Mark ‘Captain Kidd’ Winmill’s stunning bird bath trapeze.
For anyone thinking of joining in the madcap festivities, there are several outrageous moments of audience participation with an especially grown – up twist. Without giving these saucy secrets away, these particular inclusions left this reviewer truly speechless. It has to be said, however, the pair of punters chosen to take part were very good sports about being put on the spot.
Kim Bowers, who played DJ Busty Beatz in ‘Hot Brown Honey’, provided outstanding musical direction. The opening group number was worth the price of admission alone, setting and maintaining that high standard for the remainder of the show.
Keeping in line with the production’s cheeky nature, the glittery (and often skimpy) catwalk – ready costuming was designed by Dallas Dellaforce. Her high fashion vision was reinforced by Tristan Shelley’s streamlined set design, with smart lighting and sound by Paul Lim. Excellent stage management kept the experience smooth and seamless.
‘Briefs’ is Fifty Shades of Cirque du Sexy – an explosive experience not to be missed.