Creative Producer: Fez Faanana
Co-Creator: Mark Winmill
Reviewer: Scott Matthewman
Now on their third summer residency at the London Wonderground’s Spiegeltent, the creative team behind Briefs certainly know what works: a heady mix of comedy, striptease, dance and circus skills.
It’s a format which has remained largely unchanged from the troupe’s previous visits to London. Hosted by the statuesque Aussie drag queen Shivanna (the show’s creative producer Fez Faanana), the troupe’s aversion to clothing is as much to demonstrate the athletic muscularity of their performers as it is to titillate – and it works on both levels.
Aerial acrobat Thomas Worrell provides two solo pieces that build on his previous years’ work. His mastery of both hoop and silks is entertaining, graceful and breathtaking, and contrasts well with the show’s other, more raucous elements. In contrast, Mark Winmill’s trapeze and birdbath act, which closes the show, is muscular and fierce where Worrell’s is controlled.
Returning visitors to Briefs will find that many of the set pieces returned. The greatest crowd-pleaser of these repeating elements is surely Louis Biggs, whose cheeky schoolboy striptease, with trademark Rubik’s Cube and yoyo trickery, brings the house down early on in the show. As ever, Biggs’s winning personality and easy-going sexuality runs through the show, whether performing an impressive new skipping routine (with show newcomer Lachy Shelley) or when acting as the show’s raffle prize, in which a member of the audience is invited to drink tequila from his torso.
Other returning skits are less successful. Adam Krandle’s “Evil Hate Monkey” may not be to everybody’s tastes, with an animalistic sleaziness that contrasts with the rest of the show. And the show’s costume designer, drag act Dallas Dellaforce, is reduced to repeating the same lip-synching attempts at comedy that feel as out of place as ever. The overall effect is to increase a desire for new content from both performers.
That said, for an evening of trashy fun Briefs provides a winning formula of camp, sexy comedy and circus. Its now regular fixture in the Wonderground summer schedules is welcome – long may it continue.
Runsuntil September 27th| Photo SGDL