The self-described ‘All-male, all-Vaudeville, all-trash brat pack’ that is the Briefs Factory opened their all-too-brief (sorry) run in Auckland as part of Auckland Pride 2016 last night.
This crazy-talented troupe of six led the audience, seated surrounding their stage, to an hour and a half of pure entertainment, including circus tricks, magic, drag and raunchily risque musical numbers. And judging by the applause, laughter and demand for an encore, the crowd rather enjoyed themselves.
Fez Fa’anana is your ringmaster and he is a delight. Confessing to some opening-night nerves, he embraced the occasion by breaking into the odd bashful giggle and telling us in comedic style about the act’s journey from performing in carparks when they started out, to performing on the road for over 40 weeks of last year in tents, theatres and fringe festivals worldwide. His camp style, familiar Samoan sense of humour and perfect mix of self-deprecation and drag glam work brilliantly. He also might have the most expressive face I’ve ever seen on a stage – an entire audience that dissolves into laughter with just one delicately-maneuvered eyebrow is a good indication.
The cabaret-style lineup of acts includes some genuinely stunning artistry – the highlights of which are undoubtedly Thomas Worrell’s performances of aerial acrobatics and a hoop suspended metres above the stage. His athleticism and grace were superb. The cutie of the troupe, and youngest cast member, is Louis Biggs, who opens the show with a cheeky geek routine and sets the tone perfectly for the rest of his castmates. Sandwiched in between we are treated to magic tricks, full-force drag cabaret and even some pyrotechnics. There’s audience participation – just the right amount – and a surprising amount of gentle nuance from our host alongside his cheek(s).
On for a very short run in Auckland, Briefs had the whole audience (gay, straight and otherwise) utterly entertained last night – get in quick to grab your seat.
Reviewed by Natalie Ridler.