This is not a show to take your maiden aunt to or a card-carrying member of the Democratic Unionist Party. It is decadent. It is ripely gay. And it had the audience on their feet for a standing ovation.
The setting is a bit staid. Your reviewer, having seen these boys perform in the Spiegeltent, home to many an outré performance on the South Bank, was worried that they might show a little more restraint at a venue that hosts classical concerts. He need not have worried. The show is as gaudy, colourful, and naughty as ever. The performers flaunt outlandish costumes, but they also flaunt well-honed, hunky bodies in the (almost) altogether. Well, in one instance, completely altogether. And here there was a classical connection. The chap could have been a model for a statue by Praxiteles – the Greek ideal of male beauty in the flesh.
A reviewer is supposed to state what genre the show belongs to, but it is difficult to slot this show into any one label. Circus perhaps, as there are dazzling displays of acrobatic bravado, juggling skills, and general clowning. Burlesque probably comes closest, indeed Briefs Factory, an Aussie collective that emerged from unlikely origins in an unfashionable part of Brisbane, has been billed as “the world’s hottest all-male boylesque group”. That must be right. They strut and preen in their drag outfits with provocative insouciance, but the superbly timed choreography must be the fruit of much toil, tears, and sweat in rehearsal.
This time around, the show is doubly good, because there is a cracking live band on stage. Fronted by another Aussie on guitar and vocals, and backed by ace musicians on keyboards, bass, and drums, the band brings a whole new dimension to this production. The singer, Sahara Beck’s, “soaring vocals” (as the blurb rightly puts it) transform the show into an aural as well as a visual delight, but what really got me hooked was the drumming. Lined up alongside the rest of the band, the drummer put on such a bravura display of percussive skills that I almost forgot to watch the rest of what was going on.
The auditorium was absolutely packed for last night’s performance, which bodes well for its transfer to the Edinburgh Festival. It is a show that would have gone down a treat in the last days of the Roman Empire (although no one was thrown to the lions), and it is going down (no pun intended) a treat in licentious London.