|Published on Saturday, 25 August 2012|
Briefs is quite simply fantastic, a true festival highlight. More than deserving of its five gold stars, it was the first show in a long time I would happily have seen again the following night. As I had to leave Edinburgh the next day, it was not possible, alas. I left my aunt and female cousins in no doubt that it was to leap to the top of their not-to-be-missed list – with transvestites, tattoos, tassles and some, cough, tight packages, need I say more?
Trashy and ridiculous from start to finish, this meticulously arranged offering from the Brisbane troupe also squeezes in moments of delightful satirical humour and seriously impressive circus skills. Even if you have seen some of the acts before, you haven’t seen these guys! The performers are evidently delighted to be on this tour sharing their exotic brand of fun. The host, Shivannah, charms and stuns the crowds in equal measure with ever-impressive costume changes, easy charm and fierce quick wit.
“With a little bit of butch and a load of camp,” Briefs offers a 'boylesque' take on the classic fan dance, plate spinning, hula hoops and the rope swing. They use an informative video interlude to share a little of a Samoan tattooing tradition leading into a beautiful and graceful display of aerial silk work by Na Tano. The mesmerising rope swing act is performed by Vegas’ 'King of Burlesque,' Mark Winmill, and provides further proof of just how much talent is on this stage. Winmill is in proud possession of an almighty six pack and glides around the air with ease while wearing more make up than I will own in a lifetime. Just my kind of “gender offender” – it’s their own phrase, not mine.
Borrowing from various acts more commonly associated with female burlesque acts, these boys show just how universal it can be. I don’t care what’s been packed away neatly beneath a sparkly g-string, with talent like this it’s just irrelevant. The fact that they pull it off so successfully is testament to their skill, showmanship and hard work. Swerving through references to Australian politics, gender stereotypes, comedy parodies, cheap humour and truly breath-taking physical performance, this show is polished, well executed and really, really good.
As breathless as that all was, I don't think I can do better than to leave you with a quote from one of Briefs' new-found Facebook friends: “Once you’ve seen a near naked man send a hula hoop out in a backward spin and catch it between his butt-cheeks, there really is nothing left to see in the world”. Go see it.
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FROM OUR ARCHIVES
These are archived reviews of shows from Edinburgh 2012. We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.