Fringe World 2018: Briefs – Close Encounters review

The world’s hottest all-male boylesque group are back with Perth with a brand new mashup of circus, drag, burlesque and comedy.

Having glitter-bombed the globe with their iconic and hilarious circus and variety stylings, Brisbane’s Briefs boys are back from an exploration of the third dimension with sci-fi and space themed debauchery, here to reassure us that everything will be OK in the future after a global shitstorm of a year.

Hitting out with glorious punk rock swagger, Briefs: Close Encounters is irreverently naughty, perverted-and-subversive fun, that will make you think, and feel.

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Image by John Tsiavis

Paying tribute to the traditions of circus, the extremities of physical theatre, the artistry of drag, the guts of burlesque, the imagery of theatre, the debauchery of speakeasies and the showmanship of cabaret, this whirlwind of a performance races through impeccable group dance numbers and skilled individual acts with joyful costumes and killer soundtracks (and yes, of course, the removal of said costumes!).

Each performer gets his moment to shine, as they challenge stereotypes and explore notions of gender, sexuality and race, all while delivering a riotous, woo-inducing good time. Trust me when I say, you’ll be hard pressed not to clap, cheer and stomp your feet as they show off and dazzle with humour – there’s juggling and hula hoops, incredible aerials and beautiful drag, warped speed strippers from out of space, cheeky winks and incredibly glorious interpretative dancing, literal flying sparks, and a jubilant energy that will shine through you long after the show finishes.

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The music, lights, costumes and performers themselves are awe-inspiring – yes it’ll make you want to have a drink and a dance, but there’s a lot more going on than that.

From the moment the mothership’s commander Shivannah (Fez Faanana) welcomes the audience into the tent it’s clear that diversity is part and parcel of the performance. Powerful and playful in leading the group, Sivannah makes it clear straight up that a Briefs show is a safe place, where what’s between your legs is nobody’s f*cking business.

And that is maybe the best thing of all about Briefs – it’s fun and frivolous, a glitter bomb of glory, a hilarious and sexy romp, but it also pumping and electric with energy as it pushes boundaries, challenges notions of masculinity and taste, defies stereotypes and challenges what we think we know about gender and sexuality. It truly is a show that celebrates our similarities as well as our differences – a place where you know you are accepted and worthy, but no more or less so than the person sitting next to you.

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Close Encounters takes a new direction from previous shows – its slicker and the artistry and aesthetics have been kicked up a notch, but don’t worry there are still the trademark quips about the lack of arts funding in this country. It’s a show I’d easily recommend every year as long as it continues at Fringe World – just make sure you line up early, as it’s usually quick to sell out. On the night I went the tent was uncomfortably full, I was sat behind a pole and missed a lot of the visual humour, and rumours abounded that it had actually been oversold. That aside, my only criticism is that while I agreed with everything that was being said, the opening monologue ran a tad too long.

We all know it’s time to speak up for those who can’t, and supporting Briefs is just one way to do so while having a hell of a time. Close Encounters is confident and evocative, charismatic and sizzling – an elegant yet mischievous, raunchy irreverent and warped political punk party that uplifts as it destroys the status quo – and you really, really need to see it.

Briefs: Close Encounters is on at 9pm every night (except Mondays) until 25th February, at the Pleasure Garden’s WA Spiegeltent – but get your tickets quickly, as a few nights have already sold out.

 

 

*I received tickets to this show in exchange for my review (thanks Muse Bureau). All opinions are my own.

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