FRINGE REVIEW – Briefs, Underbelly


If you’re looking for a show you can take your granny to, this is not it. Well, not unless you have a very particular kind of granny… If, however, you’re looking for a show jam-packed with rippling muscles, sequins and massive feathery headgear, you’re in luck. Briefs is brash, crude and in your face (quite literally, if you’re in the front row), and it is beautiful.

Featuring a cast of extremely talented men, Briefs combines traditional vaudeville fare such as plate spinning and a strong man act with raucous, high-energy dance routines and some death-defying aerial work. The costumes are glitzy, the music is loud and the whole show is as camp as a field of hot pink sparkly tents (speaking of sparkle, check out their glittery scarlet lipstick – fabulous and apparently unsmudgeable!)

The show is held together by the acerbic wit of hostess Shivannah, whose outfits get steadily more amazing with every appearance. It’s a pity that the size and layout of the Udderbelly keep the audience and performers at a distance from each other – Shivannah’s banter with the audience was hilarious and more of that would have been welcome, but that dynamic is better served by a more intimate venue.

The boys from Briefs are clearly having a great time, but what they do requires massive dedication and skill. It’s easy to forget that when they are making their routines look effortless, twirling around in mid-air as if it were nothing special, but there’s a reminder of the blood, sweat and tears in a short video clip showing a Samoan cast member being tattooed using a traditional method involving 37 hours of tiny punctures… For more information you would have to either see the show or ask someone who wasn’t watching through their fingers, but it seemed prolonged and painful. The end result, however, was stunning – just like the performances. Particularly Nadia, whose luminous hula hoop routine and wild, chaotic stage presence are a joy to behold.

Briefs runs at Underbelly, Bristo Square from 6 – 27 August, 23.15 (1 hour).

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