Briefs – Brisbane Powerhouse

This raucous production can probably best be summed up by the Briefs boys themselves: “A lot of butch, with a f*#kload of camp on the side.”

Presented by: Brisbane Powerhouse
Venue: Brisbane Powerhouse
Saturday, 3 December, 2011 

This raucous production can probably best be summed up by the Briefs boys themselves: “A lot of butch, with a f*#kload of camp on the side.”

Welcome to the world of Briefs. A little bit circus, a little bit burlesque, a little bit risque and a whole lot of fun. From the instant the six muscled men strutted on stage with their pink feather fans, the audience whistled and cheered them through their performance … not that they needed the encouragement.

The show is fabulously hosted by Fez Faanana in drag, whose constant frock changes showcase the height of ‘outer suburban chic’ whilst still highlighting his Samoan heritage. His repartee of double entendres and flamboyance is the glue that holds together the other fine male specimens that make up this physically elite team (including reigning worldwide ‘King of Burlesque’, Mark Winmill).

With perpetually dwindling costumes that more than delighted many of the males and females in the audience, these five skilful performers balanced and swung from ropes and ribbons, tables and even each other, demonstrating incredible feats of strength and flexibility. Interestingly enough, the appropriation of dances and moves previously accepted as more ‘feminine’ actually served to highlight the latent masculinity of the performers.

With feather fans, drag acts, and not-so-bashful displays of flesh, this show could have so easily been all froth and bubble, but surprisingly enough, it’s these elements that set it apart. Brisbane has been the birthplace of many internationally acclaimed circus acts (including Briefs), but as a result, Brisbane audiences have been inundated with the same, or similar, tricks over and over again and many have become de-sensitised to the wonder that these amazing skills can inspire. I’m not suggesting that the quality of circus in Brisbane is sub-standard. Quite the opposite! But it’s so easy to dismiss an act if you‘ve seen it many times before, no matter how physically demanding it is. This is where Briefs
succeeds. Its greatest strength is in the way that it is able to re-contextualise familiar tricks and present them in a way that is all at once funny, sexy and completely contemporary. And in doing this, the audience is able to view the act as if for the first time.

At its essence, Briefs is a celebration of sexuality, ethnicity and the many forms of masculinity. Faanana is quoted as saying that “Brisbane talent is world class” and it’s encouraging to see that he can back it up with such a fantastically enjoyable show.

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