Fringe World 2018: Hot Brown Honey review

Hot Brown Honey is a phenomenal, empowering celebration, using humour, dance, inspired music and incredible showmanship to tackle issues of racism and sexism through an explosion of colour and controversy.

Check your privilege at the door and get ready for a pumping, powerful hour of red-hot genre-defying entertainment that you’ll never forget.

HBH HERO_A3_Landscape

Image by Dylan Evans

Hot Brown Honey is equal parts a celebration and a call to arms, combining crazy hot cabaret, hip hop, dance and acrobatics to start a new revolution – and as the stars themselves said, “Fighting the Power never tasted so sweet”.

There’s so much to love about Hot Brown Honey, it’s hard to know where to start. Right from the get go you get the feeling that it’s going to be an intimate show, the kind where the stars will greet you at the door then jump up on stage to introduce themselves and what they’re doing. There’s no slick, corporate feel here, despite the fact that this show has already been taken around the globe – it’s as honest and thumping as it is revolutionary in its refusal to leave anybody behind.

Encouraging the audience to get involved and make noise throughout the show is central to theme of having a voice, taking up space and living unapologetically. The cast of First Nations women – with Aboriginal Australian, Samoan, Tongan, Indonesian and South African backgrounds – are not going to apologise for being themselves, instead packing a punch full of personality as they call out stereotypes and shatter preconception, all while having a righteous time doing it.

HotBrownHoney_Hair_Production Shot_ImageByDylanEvans

Image by Dylan Evans

The extraordinary Lisa Fa’alafi (the Game Changer), Ofa Fotu (the Myth Slayer, also known as the head of Perth band Odette Mercy & Her Soul Atomics), Hope Haami (Hope One the Beat Boxer), Ghenoa Gela (the Truth Sayer), Crystal Stacey (the Peace Maker) and Busty Beatz (the Queen Bee) have created a space where they can stand centre-stage to tell their stories in ways that will have the audience alternately clapping along while dancing in their seats, and wiping their watery eyes as goose bumps run up their spines.

From the cringe-worthy, spirited and cheeky act with bonus hula hooping that depicted the disrespectful way a lot of Australians act when they become tourists (Why is it that otherwise humble people travel overseas and turn into c*nts? Questions Busty Beatz, Why is that otherwise humble people colonise a country and turn into c*nts?) to the absolutely rocking musical number ‘Don’t Touch My Hair’, there’s no doubt that Hot Brown Honey is a lot of fun.

And by making this show such a celebration, filled with hilarious, uplifting moments, it’s prevented from being didactic or lecturing, reminding us over and over that we’re actually all in this together. That there can be no revolution unless we all stand up together.

It’s this message that makes several of the acts hit even closer to home – the hauntingly beautiful piece that mashed up the song ‘I Still Call Australia Home’ with the devastation and trauma of the stolen generation; and the incredibly moving aerial artistry about domestic violence that broke my heart as it spoke to the women who had falsely been told their silence would save them.

If you need a little pussy power in your life, Hot Brown Honey is just the act for you. That being said, it was so wonderful to see a show with an all-female cast where getting naked wasn’t the goal. After seeing innumerable burlesque performances over the years, it was amazing and yes, empowering (I know I’ve said that a hundred times, but it’s really the only way to describe it) to see a group of women who, while undoubtedly sexy as hell, didn’t see being sexy as the point – who were able to challenge boundaries and show off their fierceness with their clothes on (well, mostly, this is a Fringe show after all).

HotBrownHoney_ImageDanikaYakina

Image by Danika Yakina

So flip the script on your exotic fantasies, cast the stereotypes aside, stand up for those who can’t and MAKE SOME NOISE with Hot Brown Honey. Phenomenal, powerful, and an absolute joy.

Hot Brown Honey is on every night (except Monday) until 25th February, but six of those dates have already sold out! It’s on at 8:45pm in Teatro at Pleasure Garden – seriously, don’t miss this one.

 

 

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

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