The ladies of
This show is not messing about with its politics
Led by Busty Beatz, the cast are a mix of First Nation heritage and as they express rage at the patriarchy, fury at colonialism and challenge our stereotypes they really show us the joy of defiance, the power of protest. The political edge of the show isn’t subtle, but that’s kind of the point: the oppression is often subtle so the fightback should be loud.
However, a cabaret should also be judged on its performances as well as its politics and Hot Brown Honey brings it. An opening fan dance with the entire cast immediately subverts our expectations; these ladies are fully clothed and they’re not stripping for our entertainment. The piece ends with a question about representation chanted like a mantra. It’s a conceit that will return throughout the show.
We experience a very different take on the dusky exotic islander, a torch song moment from an ‘acceptable’ racist symbol, a biting stereotype of the privileged holidaymaker as a hula hoop routine and a straps act that gives me shivers of both thrill and shame. This show is not messing about with its politics.
I have to admit, it’s a strange sensation to be surrounded by a mostly white, likely middle class audience cheering enthusiastically at a show that so openly challenges them. A couple of chaps in front of me start the show whooping and hollering for the hot ladies and, by the end, they’re holding a muttered conversation and I catch a snippet; ‘you just don’t think about this stuff, do you?’. He’s right, we often don’t think about the microaggressions and the ingrained stereotypes, but that’s why Hot Brown Honey is such a powerful show; it’s fantastic entertainment that makes you ask the right questions.