In short? – revealing in all the right ways…
By Myron My
Having seen Briefs last year in an upstairs room of the Athenaeum, I was more than eager to see them again for their short return Melbourne season. The six talented performers covering (or uncovering) burlesque, circus, drag and everything else in between, were a highlight of my theatre experiences last year and after seeing their show on Tuesday night, remains a highlight for this year as well.
Led by the charismatic and engaging bearded lady Shivannah (alter ego of ringmaster Fez Fa’anana), the performances are nothing short of mesmerizing, but also laugh-out-loud hilarious and with plenty of skin on display – it is called Briefs for a reason, after all.
While some acts are the same as last year (which is to be expected for a return season), they are still incredibly entertaining to watch. With no lulls throughout, it is extremely difficult to choose a favourite performance , however Thomas Worrell‘s erotically-charged silks routine to Jarryd James’ “Do You Remember”, Evil Hate Monkey‘s uproarious banana skits, and the breathtaking finale by Captain Kidd (Mark Winmill) that just needs to be seen again and again, stick firmly in mind. The group acts also bring huge energy into the room, including a well-choreographed performance to Crooker’s “Royal T” showcasing the talents of drag queen (and brilliant costume designer for Briefs) Dallas Dellaforce, along with Shivannah, Worrell and Captain Kidd.
As Shivannah explains at one point, Briefs is a little bit political, a little bit idiotic and a little bit disco but it is also a celebration of being different and embracing that diversity. The entire show raises questions as to what masculinity and femininity mean and can mean, and creates an environment that is very much a joyous blurring of gender and sex.
It’s been nine years since Briefs came together and if this return season is anything to go by, this artist-driven collective is going from strength to strength. With a thumping soundtrack, slick production values and inventive acts, you had better book your tickets sooner rather than later because Briefs is only on for a brief time.