Briefs Bite Club – Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Center

by

I’ve been watching Briefs in its various incarnations for years – my affair with Briefs appears to have outlasted many of my relationships, in fact. I was happy to have them back after lockdown ended. I mean, what life needs right now is a big, glittery, queer burst of joy, right?

Only – I _had_ actually thought they’d gotten a bit formulaic. And this year, they threw the formula out the window for their show at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. No more tent, no more disco anthems, a bit less audience interaction – instead, it was a heartbreakingly beautiful show celebrating everything we have to enjoy about life, in times that seem increasingly dark.

Emcee Fez Faanana explained that the change came because of a connection the Briefs cast – and I think maybe he specifically – made at an Australian festival with the singer Sahara Beck. Hearing that story of connection, of people looking out for each other in a really bad time … well, that’s a story I’m very open to right now. And all that time shut in together, bouncing off the walls, not knowing what to do …. and then maybe reaching out a tiny tendril to someone else and having them reach back …. yes, I want to hear and see that story, I want to see what they created, with that spoonful of care and a healthy serving of WTF is going on sprinkled on top, what they did in the same place so many of us found ourselves.

What we got was an exceedingly beautiful show, one that, with the often heartbreakingly beautiful songs accompanying it, made me think about what a wonder it is that people can do so many amazing things with their bodies. They can bend in two, they can juggle 12 balls at once (maybe it was less, it seemed like 12), they can shoot to the sky on silk and willpower, they can love and laugh and break each others hearts. When the “gigolo” character stripped his final bits of clothing off, it was in no way filthy – it felt instead like a celebration of being alive. And that’s a place I really want to be right now.

Briefs Bite CLub – Photo credit Lachlan Douglas

If you are curious about what kind of circus work Briefs does – I could describe it in detail for every act – but instead why not just go and let this beauty wash over you and spend an evening being happy for every moment we’re given.

Thank you for the great night, all of you, and I hope to see you again in much more joyous circumstances. (This review is for the press night performance that took place on Friday, July 22, 2022.)

If you’re interested, here’s the songs Sarah performed – I honestly would have come out just to hear her sing, her voice was so good.

Set list:

Crack bang bang

Like you

Mr breezy

Hunter

Tapping on the roof

21st century

Nothing wrong with that

Queen of hearts

Daisy

Everyone wants noise

Here it comes

Sarah

Here we go again

I’m in love

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