Fez Faanana talks about bringing BRIEFS: CLOSE ENCOUNTERS to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Name: Fez Faanana
Name of Edinburgh show: Briefs: Close Encounters
Venue: Assembly Hall, Main Hall
Performance time: 7:15pm
Show length: 75min
Ticket price: £19.50

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
I am a co-founder of the all-male, circus, burlesque, comedy, cabaret and cult theatre production Briefs, which is now in its 3rd incarnation. I am a performer as well as director of the Briefs productions. I am the Artistic Director of Briefs Factory, which is the production house spawned from and behind the Briefs productions; Briefs the Second Coming, Hot Brown Honey, Club Briefs, Sweatshop, Brat Kids Carnival and introducing this year Yana Alana: Between the Cracks. I come from a theatre and dance background; in my performance work I blend and bend the rules around circus, drag, burlesque, comedy and performance art.

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
Briefs: Close Encounters continues and evolves the style and essence that our previous work has carved out. It is irreverent, celebratory and skilful in its reinvention-cum-remix of the variety form. We pride ourselves in marrying the raucous, late-night, punk energy of a night club with the breadth of physical theatre and the artistry of cabaret. Briefs: Close Encounters takes the audience into a bent, off-kilter and futuristic realm of fantasy. We welcome the audience onto our spacecraft and we journey into the future, demonstrating the extreme abilities of the body through performance. We assure the audiences that the future is stunning, smart and sophisticated and affirm that there is peace for everyone and a place for everyone.

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
We developed this show in April 2017 and we’ve had the pleasure of navigating the globe with glittery landings and star-dusted take-offs ever since. We set off from our hometown of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia with chartered stops in Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Madrid World Pride, London Underbelly Festival Southbank, Auckland Q Theatre, Sydney Festival and Perth Fringe World.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Eyes down on the cobblestone roads if you value your ankles. Take the flyer. Hydrate; it’s a hectic month of shows. See something fancy and see something boutique. See something you have heard of and see something you haven’t heard of. Have a beer in Leith. Look after each other.

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
Most embarrassing moment was falling flat on my face in my big solo moment for the opening fan dance. There was no hiding. There was no way to recover. There was a drag queen face-first flat on the stage and there was no grace about it.

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
I personally love the hardcore burlesque queens who have carried the flag and given it new life. Artists like Dirty Martini, Julie Atlas Muse, Perle Noire and Lada Redstar to name a few. These ladies are at the forefront of pushing boundaries and reinventing notions of beauty. They are in control and they impose a powerful presence on stage. As an MC and host, words and comedy are my weapons. Artists like Australia’s funniest funny man, Bob Downe and the lethal lips of Margaret Cho have been major inspirations.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Warm-up, bubbles and make-up to an eclectic soundtrack that includes anything from cheesy 90s RnB to Dolly Parton.

What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
Our sisters Hot Brown Honey will be at Gilded Balloon Debating Hall, and for the first time the amazing Yana Alana will be at Assembly Checkpoint with her show Yana Alana: Between The Cracks!

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
There is something for everyone at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. If you have the pleasure of being at the world’s largest explosion of creativity then I would encourage you to see as much as possible. There is something to say for planning and mapping your time and there is also something positive about going with the flow and following your nose. Briefs: Close Encounters is a spectacle of circus, drag, burlesque, comedy and theatre wrapped in a warped and fantastic world. If that is your thing then you should get yourself a ticket, get yourself a bevvy and get your butt on a seat at Assembly Hall.


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