Edinburgh Fringe 2013
Fresh from glitter-bombing the globe, the award winning trouble makers are back with a brand spankin’ new show. The all male, all vaudeville, all trash brat-pack are in lock-down ready to unleash The Second Coming: a disorderly, circus infused Briefs-boys feast of new tricks, new wigs, new boys, new feathers and a new addictive sound track.
Burlesque is a tricky genre to deal with if you’re not familiar with the culture. How to tell beforehand whether you’re in for an awkward strip show, or something truly impressive? Considering the posters you see around town, everyone seems to know their way a feather fan and some nipple tassles these days.
Well, I can now verify that among the Fringe’s ever-increasing number of adult cabaret shows and burlesque acts, Briefs are the true professionals.
Featuring two award-winning boylesque stars and a selection of acrobats, dancers and drag acts, this all-male company are likely to outshine any other burlesque show you see this month.
Each one of the Briefs boys has his own character, camped up to perfection. A particular highlight is the youngest member (no pun intended), who has a coquettish schoolboy act that includes a rubik’s cube and a whole new take on yo-yo tricks. Then there’s a breathtaking aerialist act, surreal drag lip-sync skits, and the kind of professional grade pure burlesque performances that you’re vanishingly unlikely to see on the mainstream variety show circuit. The emcee, Fez Fa’anana, is an expert in catty drag queen humour, and goes through more costume changes than Cher.
Quite apart from the obvious entertainment factor of the performers, Briefs dares to go to some pretty weird places compared to the banana hammock/Priscilla: Queen of the Desert antics that audiences might expect. This kind of surreal, high-concept , witty burlesque is quite hard to find, but Briefs never seem to run out of ideas.
At last year’s Fringe, they performed an excellent but slightly cheesy show at the Udderbelly. This year they seem to have upgraded, both materially (the Spiegeltent is a beautiful cabaret venue, and some of those costume changes have to be seen to be believed), and in terms of skill and originality.
Don’t be afraid to go to Briefs. This isn’t a simple drag show, and it certainly isn’t the Chippendales. Even those who are used to the queer burlesque scene will likely be impressed by some of the ideas on show, and if you haven’t seen a truly excellent cabaret performance before? Well, this is the perfect place to start.