REVIEW: Briefs, The Spiegeltent, London Wonderground ✭✭✭✭✭

Briefs at the London Wonderground

Briefs
The Spiegeltent, London Wonderground
13 September 2016
5 Glorious Glittering Stars
Book Tickets For Briefs

Do not under any circumstances attend this show if you are not prepared for your sides to split and your face to ache from excessive laughter!  If you are looking for something different to do with your evening, my advice (while it is running) would always be to head down to the Southbank and see what is on at The London Wonderground in The Spiegeltent – now more than ever.  Not only does it provide a great backdrop and buzzing atmosphere throughout the summer – or, in this case as autumn is approaching – but it is a lively, vibrant place to be, and the quality of the acts is always strong.  Let me tell you now, Briefs is no exception.

I have a small confession to make: this is not the first time I have seen Briefs.  It may, however, be the first time I have watched it entirely sober…!  I was slightly apprehensive about this.  How would I feel in a raucous, busy circus tent, without a drink, watching a show where the partaking in liquid refreshments of an alcoholic nature is not only actively encouraged, but practically compulsory?  Would I enjoy it as much?  Would I feel left out? Would I be horrified to find out that what I remembered to be a great night out, actually was not that good after all and previously I had just partaken in a few too many sherries?  Thankfully, and swiftly, my fears were put to bed as the lights dimmed, the music started and the feathers came out.  It turns out this wonderful creation is equally engaging, entertaining, sassy, fierce and vibrant whether you have had a stiff one or not, but if you are not there on “business”, why deprive yourself of enjoying a drink or two.

This is the fourth year in London for Briefs, a Brisbane-based collective (The Briefs Factory) of performers who incorporate many genres of physical performance, and with a number of appearances at Edinburgh Festival Fringe too, they are garnering quite a following.  There is always a joyful mix of “Briefs Virgins” and “Repeat Offenders”, and their talent as entertainers becomes all too evident as the spontaneity of their act appears as sharp and as fresh as it has ever been.

This is an evening of titillation and talent, with Drag, Cabaret, Boylesque, Circus, a raffle like no other, an adrenaline fuelled soundtrack and a good dose of Disco when you need it most – their showmanship spills out into the auditorium by the bucket load.  The production catapults you from moment to moment with pace, striking and dynamic lighting and more variety than you can shake a proverbial stick at.  No sooner have the lights gone to black than there is a lantern-lit lip-synching of War Of The Worlds, launching straight into a synchronised, feather fan dance-cum-striptease, right before we are introduced to our host and compere, the bearded drag queen, Shivannah (aka Fez Fa’anana).  With sharp wit and attitude aplenty, a gleeful and cheeky rapport with the audience is fast established, giving the show that follows a very firm foundation, encouraging us to leave social media behind and watch with our eyeballs as opposed to iPhones!  With the tone of the show set, every audience member invested, and the house rules made clear, without a moment to breath it is on with the quick changes and quirky carnage. Aerial work follows at intervals throughout the show (Thomas Worrell & Mark “Captain Kidd” Winmill leave us simply lost for breath at moments), along with juggling, clowning, acrobatics, and things you had never envisaged happening with a banana or a Rubik’s Cube – hats off to Louis Biggs, I am still lost for words.

This is pure, unadulterated escapism – and nobody does it better.  We all need a little escapism every now and then, and in these crazy – even difficult – times it should not just be advised, it should be made mandatory.  Whatever is next in store for this brilliant bunch, I for one, cannot wait to see it.

BOOK TICKETS FOR BRIEFS AT LONDON WONDERGROUND UNTIL 22 SEPTEMBER 2016

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