BWW Review: BRIEFS returns to Arts Centre Melbourne for Close Encounters
Review by Kathleen Reynolds
This sexy circus inspired drag show has opened with a bang at Art Centre Melbourne's Playhouse Theatre. Its fun, flirty and flexible cast will shock you with their incredible stunts, delight you with their infatuating charm, and captivate you with a wonderful celebration of equality, diversity and respect.
Originally derived from the Adelaide Fringe Festival, the Briefs Factory have thrilled audiences at Underbelly Festival in London, World Pride in Madrid and Q Theatre in Auckland, just to name a few. A large portion of the opening night crowd had been to a Briefs show before and now I can see why. It's almost impossible to not have a good time when you're in the hands of this cast.
"Art is our weapon" is the advice we get from our sassy bearded islander drag host, Shivannah. She comes to us from the future and pokes fun at the comedy of errors of the world today. We're introduced to a small cast of gorgeous, camp, cheeky men who brace the stage with a varied series of circus, dance and magic inspired performances. The opening number leaves me feeling like I've just experienced the best boy band I will ever lay my eyes on. I quickly find out that this dynamic group are so much more than that. They own the stage with aerial stunts, juggling, baton twirling and acrobatics. However, let's not get this confused with a 'normal' circus, this is a circus on camp steroids. Prepare for stripping (lot's of stripping), fabulous costumes, high heels and disco music. I can safely say it's the finest kind of circus I've ever experienced.
This diverse cluster of energetic acts seems less like a typical theatre show and more like an experimental performance. The theatre is turned into a nightclub with strobe lights and disco balls. I liken the experience to walking through a gallery of modern and contemporary art as each painting comes with it's own character, emotions and surprises. You never know what you're going to get and how you're going to feel about it! Furthermore, it's also a beautiful exploration of the male physique, which can truly be enjoyed by all audiences.
Aside from being in complete awe of the talents and physiques of the brilliant cast, I was completely electrified by the production quality of this show. The synchronicity of the music and lighting design is the best I've seen in a long time. What's more impressive is the show's ability to let the props and costumes become a key part of the lighting design. The cast as so well-rehearsed they hit their multiple, complex lighting cues each time. This factor really gives this show an extra edge.
Though the show takes us on a journey through space and into the future, we're reminded of some really down-to-earth values that will leave you feeling whole-heartedly fulfilled.