With an opening that includes music from Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds and the voice of Richard Burton, you could be forgiven for thinking that you were about to experience a certain kind of show. A traditional kind of show. Well Briefs soon blows away those preconceptions when a muscular, drag queen (Fez Faanana) introduces the proceedings with more sprinklings of the F-word than you'd think was possible to spray within those few minutes.
Briefs the show, turns out to be an irreverent look at the world of burlesque or Boy-lesque as some of the promos describe the show. Drag is a major part of its look and style, as seven, mostly well-buffed, males, dance, prance, juggle, balance, and generally invert a typical evening's entertainment of athletic skill into something that is queer, here, and that rarely shies away from pushing boundaries.
Midway through the show, the ensemble perform what I can only politely describe as a salute to the Fetish scene, one that ends with a dog committing an act that left most of the enthusiastic audience gasping. As our Host(ess) pointed out: Trauma in the room is included in the price of the ticket. Be warned!
But that's a large part of what makes this show succeed. It really doesn't take itself or what is regarded as 'normal' very seriously.
When the audience is not being shocked or scared... there are a number of highlights that include some memorable acro-balancing and aerial work, snappy choreography, lots of comedy, and even a skipping rope duo (Lachy Shelley and Louis Biggs) who could easily get work as centrefold models. Oh and most of the cast lose most of their minimal clothes regularly – hence the show's title.
The show could be a little more tightly staged, but the pace and enthusiasm of these talented gender-benders never lags. It's the kind of show that would work well in a Spiegeltent, where the atmosphere would enhance the proceedings. The crowd on the night, however, didn't seem to care.
The evening ends with a rousing rendition of the disco classic Enough is Enough where the crowd is encouraged to get up and dance away. Just remember though, Briefs is not the kind of show to send Grandma to.
Venue: Athenaeum Theatre, 188 Collins St, Melbourne
Dates: 11 Nov – 5 Dec 2015
Tickets: $35 – $45
Bookings: ticketek.com.au | 132 849