Review: Briefs’ Dirty Laundry is a fitting 10th birthday for boylesque troupe
Briefs’ Dirty Laundry
That’s how long the Briefs boys have been coming to Perth.
It’s a wonder if you haven’t heard of them — but in case not, they are the all-male cabaret and circus troupe who delight sell-out crowds at Fringe World every year.
Well, every year but 2021 — the Brisbane-based boylesque gang were stopped in their tracks just days before heading west for this year’s festival due to last-minute border closures.
At the time, Briefs head honcho Fez Fa’anana promised they would be back to celebrate their 10th birthday with Perth and that oath has now been realised with a brand new show premiering at Girls School.
So fresh is Dirty Laundry that host Shivannah (Fa’anana) said the preview before opening night was a glorified dress rehearsal, with costumes still being sewed right up to the curtain call.
With repeated lock-downs limiting performers’ face-to-face finessing, there is no denying this show is not as slick as Briefs’ signature work The Second Coming.
But that has visited Perth plenty of times, and Dirty Laundry is a welcome venture into new, experimental territory.
Kicking it all off was long-time cast member — and Broome boy — Louis Biggs, who proved his prowess juggling a growing number of bouncing balls while shedding clothes.
Fellow regulars Mark “Captain Kidd” Winmill (burlesque), Dale Woodridge-Brown (clowning), Thomas Worrell (aerials) Fa’anana (dance) all debuted never-before-seen items to hoots and squeals from the crowd.
The newer faces in the bunch were just as well received, with Nastia (former gold medal-winning diver Luke Hubbard) turning a stunning Victoria’s Secret Angel look on the runway before pulling off an impressive gymnastics display and Enter Serenity (circus artist Dylan Rodriguez) working a pastel mullet while suspended in the splits.
The biggest cheers, however, were reserved for drag artist and Australian Dance Theatre pro Kween Kong (Thomas Fonua).
Her stunts in the finale were bombastic and her stage presence as mighty as her moniker.
The show’s central theme of “airing one’s dirty laundry” started strong, with Shivannah hinting each act conveyed a personal story, but the message was a little lost as the action unfolded.
A comedic reprieve came when the host and Kween Kong dipped into a basket of notes from audience members sharing their dark secrets.
The duo seemed genuinely amused at what they were reading and their unscripted banter was a highlight of the evening.
The infamous raffle, meanwhile, was given an update for socially-distanced times with the help of an iPad and hazmat suit.
There is no way you can’t enjoy a Briefs show, even if it’s a little messy — the energy is infectious and the artistic skill is top notch.
Happy birthday boys, here’s to another 10 years.
Briefs’ Dirty Laundry runs to August 22.
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