Briefs is a show that promises ‘burlesque with balls’ – and Lord knows, it delivers quality amounts of both. Hailing from Australia and neighbouring islands, the all-male cast perform a variety of circus acts, burlesque and acrobatics, all in (a very enjoyable) near-nudity. This cabaret of often outrageous skill is hosted by Shivanna, whose sarcastic and hilarious wit is made even more formidable by her size seventeen stilettos. This is a show in which comedy is matched only by sheer talent; the Briefs boys perform gymnastics several metres above ground with only ropes and sheets, roll metal pans up and hula with dozens of hoops in nothing but a bikini and a pair of high heels.
What sets this show apart, though, is the intelligence and heart behind it all. Shivanna tells us how Briefs from such humble beginnings that the only way they could get arts funding was by picking up a ‘flat-nosed native from the welfare office’ and ‘making some strategic grammatical errors’ in their application. And then we are shown a video that documents Shivanna’s brother and fellow performer during an arduous thirty-six hours of tap tattooing that is a Samoan tradition of their family. Not a usual burlesque routine.
Not that it gets serious for too long – this is a cabaret that does not stop entertaining for a moment. Flamboyant, colourful and potty-mouthed, this is not a show for the faint-hearted but it is laugh-out-loud, jaw-droppingly good. We can only pray that the Briefs boys wangle enough arts funding to come again.