cabaret: briefs - close encounters

adelaide cabaret festival: briefs - close encounters
It's time to phone home, live long and prosper and let the force be with you... the boys from Briefs are going intergalactic...

This is the fourth time I've seen the boys (2016, 2015 and way back in 2010), and the first time they've appeared in the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. This is also a brand new show (I'm not sure if it's the one they brought to Fringe this year or not) and they definitely lean into the "close encounters" intergalactic theme, very successfully.

And there are some new faces this time around which definitely gave the show a new energy.

Returning as part drag dominatrix, part alien circus ringleader, part high fashion model is Fez Faanana aka Shivanah, once again letting his/her (I never quite know the correct pronoun to use for Fez... I'm going with she/her for the rest of the review though I think) fantastic energy get the crowd in the mood... Fez did seem oddly hyper in the opening night show, but I'm putting that down to first show nerves as she's always seemed quite laid back in the past, but seemed to be tripping over her words in the rush to say everything. Not that that's really a criticism, I just really wanted to tell her to take a breathe and slow down a little.

I always enjoy her "real talk" section at the beginning of the show... especially the giving thanks section, which is oddly grounding for such a small part of the show.

And I want to take a moment to shout out their costume designer, Dallas Dellaforce... he's done amazing work for the Briefs crew in the past, but this time he's really excelled himself... from each and every one of Fez's outfits (although hands down the best outfit was the green masked extravaganza)... to the incredibly, INCREDIBLY sexy stormtrooper lycra suits for Louis Biggs, Thomas Worrell and Dale Woodbridge-Brown (especially Thom's elastic harness version). And Louis's mad scientist outfit somehow managed to be incredibly sexy even while he was completely covered (more on that in a second).

I was also in love with Dale and his White Rabbit/March Hare ensemble... there was no Evil Hate Monkey this time around, but Bunny Dale filled out that role beautifully. Also, I really want to know how the hell he did his alarm clock routine... that was both insane and incredible... and I kind of wish it went on a bit longer.

One of the other highlights was, as previously mentioned, Louis's mad scientist combination juggling/strip tease routine... in part because he's doing actual chemical experiments on stage in the midst of everything else. It flies by entirely too fast to really take in what he's doing, but it's incredibly impressive. Also, the way that his outfit comes apart as he goes along... holy fuck. It's never been a secret that Louis is my favourite Briefs boy (and I won't lie... I really miss the naughty nerdy schoolboy/Rubix cube routine he's done in the past), but add in that outfit and the man is walking sex.

I was also fairly mesmerised by everything Thomas did... but the "caged bird" number with Fez (and the aforementioned green outfit) was breathtaking. But to then follow it up with his strategically placed stormtooper outfit number... suffice to say my socks were blown clean off. He's always been amazing, but there's just something about this new show that really lets him take it to another level.

It was also interesting to see that they've changed up the raffle prize with this new show (although I'm sad that I missed out on being able to maybe one day win the previous prize), and the new prize is actually a fantastic little number in and of itself. And given that there are now four possible prizes, I'm very interested to see what the other three entail.

I also oddly enjoyed the very strangle number that new boys Harry Clayton-Wright and Thomas Greenfield put together. They'd both done solo numbers earlier (if you can technically count Harry running around the stage and streaming hysterically a number), but there was something I liked about the number together. I will say that Greenfield has a performance style that's a little... intense. But it was an interesting (if decidedly weird) piece.

While it didn't necessarily feel as "polished" overall as the previous show did the last time I saw it, they did have a long time to really refine that down to that point, whereas this still feels a little new and there are a few rough corners that will disappear with time.

But overall it was an incredibly night out as well as being a brilliant addition to the Cabaret Festival lineup... and as usual I left completely hoarse from cheering and with sore arms and hands from all the applauding.

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