OzAsia Festival Review: Hot Brown Honey shines as a defining force and voice within the Australian arts scene

“Culture does not make people. People make culture. If it is true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we can and must make it our culture.” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Ms Adichie is just one fierce wordsmith quoted during tonight’s performance by Hot Brown Honey‘s Busty Beatz; setting the tone and ramming it home throughout the 70 minute show as part of Adelaide’s OzAsia Festival, it is evident that this is a show produced out of necessity rather than any type of comedic indulgence.

From the pop up venues of the Adelaide Fringe, Hot Brown Honey now finds itself in the established Space Theatre at the Adelaide Festival Centre. The Thursday night crowd is distinctively more subdued than any other crowd I’ve been in for this show, which pushes the cast harder to fill each gap of silence with a scream, a demand, a song or a sermon. It’s a tactic that, by the end, pays off.

From atop her hive, Busty Beatz intimidates, charms and entertains as her fellow Honeys use the floor below for dance, song and storytelling via choreography. The addition of Ghenoa Gela to the HBH cast is a great one – the Torres Strait Islander performer bringing a refreshed strength to her performance. Lisa Fa’alafi and Crystal Stacey exert physical dominance, even in moments of slapstick, while Hope One‘s beatboxing skills and humour remain unmatched.

We’ve covered Hot Brown Honey in the past and, like other reviews of the show, they’ve been overwhelmingly positive words. In the last year since seeing the Honeys however, the world – politically and socially speaking – has spun further off its axis and quite frankly, being able to be in the company of this cast of performers, even for just over an hour, provided a great short-term escape from all the shit that continues to flood newsfeeds, timelines and trending topics.

The hive continues to grow with the popularity of these Honeys internationally – fighting the power, indeed, has never tasted so sweet.

For more about OzAsia Festival head to ozasiafestival.com.au

The reviewer attended this show on September 28th.

Photo by Dylan Evans.