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Briefs: The Second Coming

Spiegeltent, St Andrew's Square, Edinburgh
Four stars
“Is everybody alright?” asks the six-foot drag-queen in his/her
high-heeled pomp at the edge of the Spiegeltent catwalk after three
similarly attired colleagues have taken a trio of their fellow artistes
dressed as dogs for a walk. The vintage movie starlet shapes thrown by
those portraying the dog-owners initially suggests a kitsch precursor
to some energetic bounding from their charges. When the scene ends with
a comic but no less effective simulation of coprophagia between
mistress and four-legged friend, however, it makes for a more
unexpected but altogether more subversive punchline.

By this time the six-man team who make-up Australian troupe Briefs have
thrusted, teased and bared their well-buffed behinds in a series of
routines involving bananas, a yo-yo, a Rubik's Cube and increasingly
less clothes. There are wigs, lip-synching, and a gymnastic routine
with a suspended ring loaded with enough homo-erotic attitude as to
more resemble a 1980s Levis ad than a flying circus.

Having forged their reputation on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe,
Briefs' mixture of high camp and highly charged burlesque remains hot
as hell entertainment for enlightened parties of all genders. There is
even a raffle, in which the winner is rewarded with the most refreshing
of libations.

Yet, for all the fun, frolics and wilful outrage, there is something
political going on too, as
a caustic shout-out to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot during the
show's disco dancing finale confirms. In this way, Briefs recall
pioneering and similarly taboo-busting 1970s drag ensemble, Bloolips,
and when the most daring of young men performs an eye-popping trapeze
act from the inside of a water-filled see-through bath, wetness all
round is guaranteed.


The Herald, December 22nd 2014




ends

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