Briefs

Athletic circus cabaret marred by lazily scripted linkages and pointlessly pouting lip-synch

★★★
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Briefs
Published 12 Aug 2016

Briefs’ journey from cutting edge to commercial cliché has been astonighingly rapid since their 2008 raunchy and edgy Brisbane birth: one more tour of shrink-wrapped titillation for hen parties without urgent innovation and they'll be selling to block-booked coach tours like The Ladyboys of Bangkok.
 
Good drag can sing: poutily inaccurate lip-synching won't cut it any more. Fez Faanana-Shivanna comperes but says he’s no idea of the point of his drag outfits or his narrative, and says "fucking" 30 times in his first five sentences.
 
A sentimental spiel about loving each other and sharing creativity in nasty times could have come from the sleeve notes of an early Yoko Ono album, and glancing references to Australia's immigration policies suggest Shivanna's shoes are big enough for migrants to travel in.
 
The routine where a trio of drag queens make their 'dogs' jump through hoops featured hoods, harnesses and thigh boots – the cheapest trappings of amateur burlesque. A ‘monkey’ uses a banana provocatively – that doesn't even pass for wit in the Australian Outback.
 
A crying shame because the outstanding circus performers deserve packaging in a fresher format than this bootleg porn Cirque du Soleil. Thomas Worrell is a world-class aerialist combining grace with immense technical skill and speed, and his work on a ring defies both gravity and innuendo. Louis Biggs' agility with a Rubik's Cube is matched with a yo-yo which ends up circling his willy-warmer in a routine which manages to be both sleazy and delightfully innocent at the same time.