Briefs, the Brisbane-based all-male burlesque extravaganza, returns to Melbourne to rock out with their jocks out once more at the Athenaeum Theatre.
From the moment we enter the cosy gloom of the Athenaeum’s newly revitalised upstairs space and are greeted by the entire Briefs ensemble roaming the seating banks, working the crowd and selling raffle tickets, there is something deliciously rustic to this show; a distinct intimacy and inclusive audience-performer exchange that speaks to a decidedly generous style of performance. And boy, does this show have a lot to give.
Our gender-blending demi-drag mistress of ceremonies Fez Fa’anana cuts a fierce and imposing figure, with a wicked wit and quick-draw sass that is underscored by a disarming willingness to laugh along with the audience.
Thomas Worrell is utterly captivating as the shows majestic and graceful aerialist. Showcasing an effortless command of his craft with physical compositions that harnesses the sensuous essence of burlesque, Worrell creates delicate moments that counterbalance much of the evening’s bawdiness with breathtaking suspense and quiet captivation.
Louis Biggs is adorably geeky, combining many tropes of traditional clowning with deft acrobatics, and managing to lend an unassuming Rubik’s Cube and yo-yo more sex appeal than I ever imagined possible.
New York-based act Evil Hate Monkey bristles with an energetic mania, and combines wild clowning, nimble acrobatics and some very heavy-hoofed ballet to educate on the manifold benefits of the humble banana.
Dallas Dellaforce is the other drag component of the evening, exhibiting a range of characters as flexible as her acrobatic counterparts.
Former Las Vegas King of Burlesque, Mark ‘Captain Kidd’ Winmill oozes sex appeal, embodying a course and cocky masculine sensuality that, by the show’s finale, will surely not leave a dry seat in the house.
Lachy Charm also displays impressive acrobatic dexterity as Fa’anana’s stony-faced and long-suffering lacky.
From the opening ensemble number, resplendent in uniform glow-in-the-dark tighty-whities and punctuated by slick and creative group choreography, the Briefs ensemble display a tight unity and cohesion that echoes through the entire evening and plays as one of the show’s greatest strengths.
Despite the profound level of technical skill and practiced precision of each act, the group still manage to retain an aspect of organic liveliness and flexibility within the show, through which they very evidently enjoy the freedom to explore, play and discover new things between themselves on stage.
This celebration of life, vitality and reinvigoration is central to the show, drawing on the traditional and familiar and injecting it with new life and imagination. From feathers to fetish, Briefs: The Second Coming takes drag, circus and burlesque and vigorously thrusts them onto a modern stage, serving up a range of contemporary perversities and pleasures that is sure to titillate and delight.