In 2017 I last saw Briefs in a Spiegeltent on the Southbank. Now the doors of Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall have opened themselves up to the Briefs Factory for the first time, and this is their first show in the UK post-pandemic. It is a welcome return for the boys on our small island here in the Northern Hemisphere.
On a mission to spread love and joy
For those of you who have never seen anything presented by Briefs Factory before - they are a group of cabaret performers who set upon the stage with circus tricks, burlesque, drag, dancing, comedy, music and theatre.
For their new show Briefs: Bite Club they have a beautiful new musical star as the linchpin. Her name is Sahara Beck and she has a stunning voice. She sings her own original songs throughout. Some uplifting pop numbers and some melancholic ballads with majestic vocals. Propped up by her band of three Sahara takes centre stage, leaving Shivanna (Faz Faanana) as host and the rest of the troop slightly lost in the grand theatre space of Southbank Centre's Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Shivanna is a fantastic host, full of quips and does a great job in explaining the new trajectory Briefs Factory find themselves on following the events of the last few years. On a mission to spread love and joy in a world where so many people are doing the opposite can only be a good thing.
Unfortunately there were no programmes or cast lists so I am unable to name individual performers but all the acts were sensational. I particularly liked the aerial artist whose leg control was extraordinary. He was a new addition to the cast and one that certainly has a big future ahead of him. He only had one solo routine and I certainly wanted more.
There was a dancer and juggler who left nothing (and I mean nothing!) to the imagination during an incredible routine on the treadmill. Also there was a comedy cabaret dance performer who had the audience laughing throughout a very entertaining moment with his wig. The show stealing moment, however, goes to the co-creator of Briefs and former Las Vegas King of Burlesque, Mark ‘Captain Kidd’ Winmill for a breathtaking routine on a 'Dita von Teese' esque oversized glass of water, and a trapeze. Quite how he manages to perform those acrobatics while dripping wet is astonishing. Mark just had the one solo routine and it would have been great to see more from this performer in Bite Club.
Sadly this show simply felt as though there were a lot of routines missing, or cut, for various reasons. It was great to see an original singer lead the show but it did seem to me that it was to the detriment of the rest of the performers, who had to take a step back. It is always good to leave your audience wanting more, and I will certainly be back next time they are in town, but it did seem somewhat lacking compared to previous years.