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Briefs: Close Encounters review at Underbelly Festival, London – ‘energetic all-male burlesque’

The cast of Briefs: Close Encounters at underbelly Festival, London. Photo: Kate Pardey The cast of Briefs: Close Encounters at underbelly Festival, London. Photo: Kate Pardey
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The Briefs Factory, an all-male burlesque troupe, stormed into London from Australia in 2013 with a fusion of circus and avant-garde burlesque. This new show, Close Encounters, is artistically sharper than previous pieces, with a more fluid narrative and an underlying message of hope.

Elements of time travel and alien encounters bind the individual acts together but the show as a whole is anything but serious and the mixture of queer performance art and strapping, scantily clad bodies will probably ensure healthy returns for this limited run.

This is a nicely elliptical show with strong production values. Seasoned performers, including the host for the evening and director Fez Faanana, are joined by some new team members to keep things fresh.

Notable among these are Thomas Gundry Greenfield and Harry Clayton-Wright, who raise the roof with a celebratory piece of contemporary dance that is as exciting as it is madcap.

Another new face is Thomas Worrell. an exceptionally inventive aerialist responsible for several of the more breathtaking stunts of the evening.

Kim ‘Busty Beatz’ Bowers’ musical direction is a key factor to the energy of this show and her set-list, a fusion of old school disco anthems and electric punk help establish the mood. The real buzz, however is created by the guys in ensemble mode. The slick set pieces that top and tail the show are practically Vegas-ready.

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Verdict
Energetic all-male burlesque show underscored by a message of unity and respect
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