Reviews/Cabaret/Fringe World Festival/Music

‘Briefs: Bite Club’ – back with added bite

20 January 2022

This revised version of Fringe favourites Briefs offers a tasty nibble and leaves Erin Hutchinson hungry for more.

Briefs: Bite Club, Briefs Factory International & Cluster Arts ·
Aurora Spiegeltent, The Pleasure Garden, 19 January 2022 ·

You can’t walk into Briefs: Bite Club expecting their usual offering because this show is something special – a tasty treat cooked up in the turmoil of 2020 and exploring a brand new collaboration between the Briefs boys and alt-pop singer Sahara Beck.

The Briefs team is a bit smaller this year, not surprising given the difficulty with travel restrictions, but with co-creators Fex Fa’anana and Mark ‘Captain Kidd’ Winmill joined by dancer Brett Rosengreen, Broome boy Louis Biggs and late addition Sam Smith, it’s still chock full of talent.

Fa’anana has the audience eating out of his hand as MC Shivannah, with great banter and relaxed humour, and while some of the timing is still a little long and loose, the crowd love the chilled and cheeky approach. Fa’anana describes Bite Club as their “therapy show” – a show about “unpacking shit” and about how special each member of the company is, because “we don’t need a reason to celebrate one another”.

Promotional image from Briefs: Bite Club, pictured are two seated individuals with a table between them. One wears a black and white corset with fishnet stockings the other in a striped blouse and pencil skirt. Both are laughing.
The Briefs boys brought plenty of variety and plenty of laughs. Photo by Naomi Reed

So what do they give us? Perth export Smith shows off her limber physique with smoothly controlled aerial hoop work; Biggs (I hope I’m right on this one, because I sure wasn’t looking at his face for long,) delivers a wonderfully entertaining treadmill routine which received an appreciative encore shout from the audience on opening night; Rosengreen’s dance moves are on display in a jazz style Fred Astaire burlesque number; and Captain Kidd creates a splash in a bath scene of what I imagine Marie Antoinette would be doing after too much cake.

There’s the expected bit of drag, a bit of circus, some fun fan dancing, a playful juggler vs percussion act, and a raffle winner who gets a cute surprise. All in all, it delivers on variety.

Sahara Beck and her band (Damon John, Andrew Reed and Ocean Beck), whose synth-pop sound is like a cross between David Bowie and Lana Del Ray, shine in their moments front and centre, interacting effortlessly with the Briefs performers.

Thanks to the excellent sound in the venue, the balance of the band is perfect, with the lighting adding impact to the rhythms of Beck’s tunes as well as the performances on stage.

Beck’s many costume changes are an exciting fashion parade, and her songs are sublime, so much so that I feel she should really be a solo act.

But the collaboration works, even if it is a little different to the previous 10 years of Briefs productions, and the mutual admiration they feel is tangible, especially in the relatively intimate space of the Aurora Spiegeltent.

And sure, it was not as hedonistic or raucous as I expected given Briefs’ reputation, but I’m still hungry for more. So, please excuse me as I go online to buy Beck’s new album and book my tickets to the Briefs late night offering: Club Briefs. That should sort me.

Briefs: Bite Club continues until 13 February, and Club Briefs is on Friday and Saturday nights until 12 February.

Pictured top: Sahara Beck stole the show in her collaboration with Briefs. Photo by Naomi Reed

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Author —
Erin Hutchinson

Erin Hutchinson is an actor, singer, theatre maker and teacher who is passionate about local arts. Whilst she wishes she could still be a ninja on the monkey bars, she’s content to enjoy a turn on the swings… easier to still hold a glass of wine.

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