REVIEW: BRIEFS: CLOSE ENCOUNTERS (Leicester Square Spiegeltent) ★★★★★

In the heart of Leicester square, the Briefs boys have landed the mother ship of circus, drag and ‘boylesque’ with their futuristic show “Briefs: Close Encounters” – and boy do they want you to know about it!

The Briefs boys whisk you away to a safe zone of outrageous, breathtaking acts and sexual awakening whilst still holding a strong positive political message. It’s no surprise that over the past 10 years of performances the briefs boys have accrued a strong fanbase and following, with many of the audience returning from the previous year. From the get go, your host for the evening Shivannah (Fez Fa’anana, who is also the Artistic Director) starts off the night displaying his very competent audience skills, by presenting his perfect opening skit about turning off mobile phones (normally a much more us-and-them approach from your regular theatre show) settling the audience and setting up the theme for the night. Here on out, we are shown an array of circus acts mixed with comedy and glitter. Briefs find a new and exciting way to display classic circus with acrobatics and arial stunts whilst also offering a playful and naughty side. Prime example of this would be their nod towards ‘Alice in Wonderland’ whereby we meet the white rabbit (played by Dale Woodbridge-Brown) as he displays his magical powers to stop ringing clocks that appear throughout the audience. Dale’s risqué approach to adult comedy has you begging for more, which nearer the end of act two you are finally awarded. Regular cast member, Thomas Worrell, returns again this year with Briefs – with much vocal delight from a audience on opening night. Spinning at shocking speeds, defying gravity, and tying himself in knots, Thomas’ talents are a must see.

Briefs holds a cast of 7 buff men in total, including one of Australia’s leading circus showmen; ‘Captain Kidd’ – who also holds the title of Las Vegas King of Burlesque, 2011. Captain Kidd has one of the strongest stage presences I’ve ever witnessed, holding the audience in the palm of his hand whilst hanging from the very top of the tent, in only his best pants and highest heels. Harry Clayton-Wright is hilarious with his contributions, along with super muscle man Brett Rosengreen who has, with no fault of his own, convinced me to get back to the gym. Finally the youngest member of the troupe, and possibly the most beautiful, Louis Biggs with his extreme ball control – juggling balls (filthy), striptease and magic!

As a critic, I feel I need to say something constructive – although for once I really am without fault of a performance. That being said, with so much thought and attention going into timing, props, precision and choreography, I would have loved to have seen a little more story telling when it came to a couple of the acts -although they stand alone as a spectacle of talent, I would have been more engaged with the storyline should the act have been set up differently. That being said, there is something fantastic about the weird, wonderful and ‘out of place’, that makes the show that of a spontaneous one and even more unique.

Accompanied by a superb soundtrack, which I overheard a few people saying they hoped they could purchase,
Briefs targets people all of shapes, sizes, genders and sexualities, offering something for everyone to enjoy. If you’re looking for a feel good evening, something raunchy, yet funny. Political, yet light hearted, entertaining and fabulous, then ‘Close Encounters’ is certainly the evening for you. After all, if you don’t go – you’ll only end up being (raises right hand) ’Jealoussssss’.

Close Encounters is certainly an adult show, however this year they are offering their children show BRAT KIDS CARNIVAL (running time 45mins) full of circus skills, flying acrobatics, edgy dancing and cheeky clown antics – details of which can be found on their website.

CLUB BRIEFS – is their late night seriously X-rated, sexcellent, weekend trash glamour disco circus cabaret club! This variety show has ridiculously brilliant performances from the Briefs boys who are joined by world class cabaret and circus special guests. 18+! CLUB BRIEFS runs weekends from Friday 9 November – Saturday 29 December 2018 (90 minutes).

And finally CLUB BRIEFS: NYE EXTRAVAGANZA! – the only place to be on New Year’s Eve! Trash, glamour, disco, circus and guaranteed hilarity from the Briefs boys and spectacular special guests. Dress code: extravagance! Live your best life and feel the fantasy as Club Briefs countdown in the capital to 2019!

Reviewed by Benjamin Martin


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