Briefs! – London Wonderground, South Bank

Creators: Briefs Factory
Reviewer: Tom Finch

“Out watching a cabaret show on a Tuesday night, you bunch of trashbags” was the words the audience were greeted with (though with considerably more expletives) on Press Night for the fourth year of Briefs!, an all male ‘boylesque’ group with a penchant for thrusting, gyrating and, of course, stripping.

The evening of saucy, adult entertainment is in the hosted by the dazzlingly capable Fez Fa’Anana, a bearded drag queen who has the task of getting the audience riled up and in the mood for some thoroughly filthy fun. Fa’Anana is a skilled emcee and had the large, boisterous audience in the palm of his hand.

The acts themselves range from the beautiful to the bizarre. One minute a man dressed as a monkey in a tutu is jumping up down while en pointe and deep throating a banana and soon after that comes a glorious aerial silk dance.

One of the most bizarre and enjoyable acts comes in the form of a dog show. Three fabulous drag queens each present their three dogs in a series of acrobatic stunts. Of course, things go wrong and it isn’t long before a lot of nature’s laws are being thoroughly ignored.

Much of the joy of the evening comes from the real skill these performers demonstrate. Louis Biggs, the youngest of the troupe (and arguably the audience’s favourite) has the most amazing dexterity, whether it’s solving a Rubix Cube in a matter of seconds; doing amazing things with a yo-yo, or juggling hats, he is definitely one to watch. His comic timing is also second to none.

The evening isn’t perfect, though. Some of the acts do outstay their welcome slightly and, at 90 minutes, the piece itself feels a tad long. If it was 15 minutes shorter it might feel slicker. That said, after touring the same show for four years, this group are clearly doing something right and the audience on press night seemed more than happy with the presentation.

By the time the show reaches its climax with Captain Kidd hanging from a trapeze into a huge bowl of water, the energy reaches breaking point. The first few rows are doused with water. This may be intended to have the effect of cold shower but given the audience’s reaction that doesn’t seem likely. With a big disco finish, this a show that is sure to delight a certain demographic of audience. It isn’t for everyone but, if you like your fun trashy, campy and filthy, it will be right up your street.

Runs until 24 September 2016 | Image: Contributed

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