Briefs The Classics - CIRCfest Meanjin 2

‘Briefs: The Classics’ // CIRCfest Meanjin

‘Briefs: The Classics’ was scrumptious.

Dust off the sparkles and grab your heels, ’cause the Briefs Boys are back in Brisbane and ready to kick off the opening weekend of CIRCfest Meanjin in style!

It comes as quite the surprise to most people when they learn that Brisbane is a global circus city and boasts three incredible circus training schools that produce some of the world’s best artistic performers. With such a wealth of local and incredible talent at the helm, it makes our beautiful city the perfect place to host a festival dedicated to the circus and performing arts. Of course, you cannot host a circus festival in Brisbane without one of the city’s raunchiest, most irreverent, gobsmacking, talented groups: the Briefs Factory. With a history dating way back to 2008, this boylesque troupe has continued to grow in popularity and style, now boasting a following of more than 18,000 on Instagram.

Superbly blending the old stuff with the new stuff, ‘Briefs: The Classics’ is a sharpshooting cabaret that celebrates their origins and the late-night warehouse parties where they made their beginnings. It combines elements of drag, burlesque, circus and dance and stitches it all together with side-splitting comedy, glitz and glam.

The evening was hosted by director and co-founder, Fez Faanana, who delivered punchline after punchline with superb ease and kept the energy levels among the audience at a maximum throughout the 75-minute performance. I lost track of the number of outfit changes Faanana made, but each dress was more lavish than the last and displayed elegant beauty and style. This self-proclaimed Samoan drag queen from Ipswich kept the show flowing brilliantly and had such a fine-tuned sense of humour that could easily engage an audience as a standalone act. 

Faanana’s main role though, was to introduce the seven fierce performers who delivered eight uniquely brilliant, elaborate and highly entertaining acts throughout the evening. 

Childishly funny, but raunchy in content, Louis Biggs opened the lineup with wit and charm in a clever schoolboy routine, equipped with lunchbox in hand and a tie as short as short can be. Biggs harnessed the good ole fashioned Rubik’s cube and a yo-yo to leave the audience crying out for more as he dazzled and yo-yoed his way around the stage. The juxtaposition of a childish toy combined with the seduction of a strip show was confusingly hilarious.

Dale Woodbridge-Brown yee-haw’ed onto centre stage next and delivered a simple, yet hilarious cowboy inspired act featuring lassoes and a cracking whip. To keep matters interesting, Woodbridge-Brown put his own body on the line by holding roses in certain parts of his body (I’ll let you use your own imagination as to where) and split them in half in a single crack. Davy Sampford delivered an equally entertaining classic in balancing 12 plates on separate sticks in an anxiety inducing and comedic little gag. 

A staple piece at any Briefs show is their iconic raffle, which includes “A beautiful prize for a beautiful winner, where everyone else will be – jealousss (with three s’s).” Such an institution are the Briefs Boys that almost the entire audience already knew the drill, knew the hand gesture and the line that went with the raffle, and knew that something spectacularly hilarious was going to ensue later on in the show. When the lucky winner was selected, they were invited to the stage to receive their prize as a roar of laughter erupted through the audience upon the unconventional delivery of his meat-tray. 

The show was not without a message though, and the majority of this came through a video that was projected onto the clay bricks on the back wall of the Powerhouse Theatre and an ensuing interview with Natano Faanana, our hostesses “little older brother.” The video showed Faanana going through 11 days of traditional Samoan tattooing that covered his entire lower body from his waist to his upper thigh, a right of passage to adulthood in their culture. Unfortunately, I missed most of the interview segment due to a medical emergency unfolding in the audience behind me, but from what I did take in, it was an emotional story of accepting who you are and the person that you want to be. A message that was continually celebrated throughout the evening by the performers and audience alike.

The show closed with a hauntingly beautiful aerial routine by the incredibly talented Captain Kidd, the other co-founder of the group. Donning feathers for days in a most glamorous outfit, Kidd danced around the stage in an almost bird-like fashion, which went hand-in-hand with a large wine glass shaped bird bath that was unveiled underneath his aerial bar. Splashing into the water, Kidd performed a variety of skilful routines that would have been made even more challenging with the addition of water hindering his grip. It was a stunning end to the performance and so unique in its execution and delivery.

So talented were the entire cast that even the simplest of gags were met with the most enormous burst of laughter from the audience. Neridah Waters performed a simple balloon dress routine with a twist that had us all laughing and questioning whether we ever want to drink wine again, and Kween Kong dazzled us all with a fierce catwalk and lip-synch.  

For those that have never seen a Briefs Factory show before must add it to their to-do list as it is a night of non-stop laughs and entertainment that you will remember for years to come.

‘Briefs: The Classics’ performed for one night only on Saturday, 23 April 2022 at the Brisbane Powerhouse. For more information visit the Brief’s Factory International website.


Briefs The Classics - CIRCfest Meanjin 2

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