In a world of political uncertainty, where rhetoric that sits against the values of equality lingers and the seeming equilibrium of the world is driving us all mad, nothing feels more necessary than a perverse drag show enjoying a residency at one of the world’s most prestigious events, the Sydney Festival. Thankfully, Briefs: The Second Coming is just that show.
Briefs is in some ways the antithesis of the traditional Spiegeltent “cirque” inspired Sydney Festival residency; though past shows like Limbo have certainly been risque in their own way, employing aspects of burlesque and cabaret, their focus has been pushing the boundaries on a physical level; taking their bodies to the limit and doing things you never thought the human body was capable of.
In Briefs, the balance lends the other way – at their most basic level, the majority of the acts are tried and true, and though often impressive, they’re not here to blow your mind with feats of human endurance, in spite of several segments that do just that (including the final number which requires a splash zone in the front seats). Rather, the all male cast are here to entertain – and wear some fabulous outfits while they do it.
Set in a world of drag, burlesque (with a good dose of nudity) and cabaret, it’s where they push some of the seemingly less “impressive” acts that had toured the show around the world for the last four years. Take their “yo-yo” act for a moment, which (spoiler alert) ends with the talented performer using his penis to swing the yo-yo around in a final reveal that would do the Puppetry of the Penis proud. I can’t say I’ve ever seen that before – it’s as impressive as it is absurd.
Elsewhere, men dressed as dogs jump through hoops before humping their owners (and… other things I won’t spoil here), a “banana ape-man” will take banana related comedy to the next level. And, of course, there is plenty of dancing, comedy and even a little bit of magic, as the ensemble take you into their weird, wacky and wonderful world for 75 minutes.
The show works not because they do things you haven’t seen before, but because of the performer’s boundless energy and enthusiasm. Add in the show’s willingness to cross to non-PC territory, and you have yourself a production unlike any you’ve ever seen before. Think of Briefs less as a cirque show in drag, an more as a drag show pumped up to 11 – and it’s likely to be the best you’ve ever seen.
Briefs is enjoying performances at the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent in Hyde Park until the 22nd of January. For tickets and more details head to the Sydney Festival website.
Photo Credit: Prudence Upton