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Review: Briefs

Adelaide Fringe

Briefs won the Best Circus Award at Adelaide Fringe last year, and it’s easy to see why. The circus and physical theatre elements of this year’s show are superb. ★★★½

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From the astonishingly tight aerial routines to the fabulous floor work, the boys from Briefs Factory are dazzlingly good.  Despite the jokes about training for a week before the show, it clearly takes years of dedication to perform with this level of skill.

There was some very clever comedy, too.  The three naughty dogs were hilarious and the evil monkey is breathtaking en pointe.   And towards the end of the show there was the requisite embarrassing audience participation involving a bare torso and tequila.

But this isn’t just circus.  It’s boylesque, a genre of drag that clearly takes itself a little too seriously.

Yes, there are sequins and sparkles and follow-me-home heels, but it’s apparently about the message, not the performance.  And in case we didn’t get it, the ringmaster (an imposing “wildebeest in a feather corset”) explains it to us – at length.  These political lectures simply got in the way of an otherwise fine piece of theatre, slowing the pace and draining some of the energy from the almost-capacity opening-night crowd. Twenty-two years on from Priscilla, we get it. Really.

I loved the performance elements of this show and think every one of the boys is incredibly talented.  They all deserve five stars.  It’s the bits in between the acts that bring it down.

Three-and-a-half stars

Briefs runs until March 14 at the Royal Croquet Club’s Panama Club. There will be two late-night Club Briefs shows on March 4 and 11. Briefs Factory is also presenting the Brat Kids Carnival at 3pm on March 6, 13 and 14.

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