A cool blend of contemporary & retro culture

‘Briefs’ are back with better burlesque, circus, bad drag, dance, comedy and an awesome live band

Briefs returns for its 11th year at Fringe World. Ten, actually … I think… if you count the year skipped last. Oh heck, who’s counting? The good news is that Briefs is back. That means a whole lot of bitchin’, back-bendin’, bra-showin’, braggin’ and classic Briefs shenanigans.

Despite the fuss and trauma caused by Covid, it appears that lockdowns and restrictions haven’t seen the troupe lose any of its wickedness, wonderful humour, and awesome ability to deliver wild performances.

Once again audiences are treated to a fabulous night of drag, dance, strip tease, circus, burlesque, commentary and comedy. This year, however, music takes centre-stage, literally.

In 2022, the boys and girl in Briefs are joined by the effervescent Sahara Beck and her band of great players. Beck is absolutely astonishing in her ability to deliver non-stop singing of alt-pop songs. Think a tinge of Tori Amos, speckle of Bjork, lashing of Lorde – but all still very much her own style. This woman is a force to be reckoned with. Her look is flawless, her voice captivating, the lyrics a nice mix of sweet and sour, and the music so groovy, yes, you’ll want to get up and groove. As a presenter on RTRFM radio, I know I’ll be putting Beck on my playlist for gigs to come.

But back to the show at hand. Briefs: Bite Club may not be next-level compared to years past but Amazonian host (Tongan, actually) Shivannah is still raw and raucous in her one-line delivery (and sweet at times with her messages of getting along in these tough times).

Funnily enough, I prefer the rawer delivery of humour with lines appearing less scripted and there being just enough balance between the lewd and the lurve.

Once again, Shivannah treats the stage like a catwalk, only in rough-and-ready drag than Victoria’s Secret-style lingerie. Put it this way, her pussycat wigs look like they have a life of their own and I worried that one might fly off into the audience like a rat with adrenaline overload.

The performance troupe are fun from the get-go, with Louis Biggs the first to impress us with his mix of exercise and mime. A staple performer of Briefs, Biggs walks breezily on a treadmill acting out moves to the lyrics of Sahara Beck’s song. In this skit, and others that follow in the show, it’s like watching a blend of Charlie Chaplin on acid meets Gene Kelly on Xanax.

Other highlights include male burlesque a la Dita von Teese where Briefs regular Sam Smith sexily splashes about in a big see-through bird bath; dancer Brett Rosengreen giving us more Hollywood-style routines; and, yes, more, more, more of the brilliant Sahara Beck.

If you’re not sure whether you want to witness a great live band or some cheeky burlesque, some A-class comedy or sexy dance moves, make this your one-stop Fringe event.

Admittedly, there are times when performers occasionally dropped the ball but given this was first night, after skipping a year of Fringe and following all that Covid debacle, this is still top-notch variety performance.

Antonino Tati

‘Briefs: Bite Club’ is on until February 13, 2022 at the Aurora Spiegeltent in The Pleasure Garden, Northbridge.

For the full Fringe World program and ticket bookings, visit www.fringeworld.com.au.  

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