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Leicester Square Spiegeltent

Briefs: Close Encounters
4.0Reviewer's Rating

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 very appropriate. Your reviewer, with an idée fixe about the Spiegeltent, home to many an outré performance, being on the South Bank, was surprised to find there a gaudy, colourful Christmas Market instead. The Spiegeltent is now, in fact, in the middle of Leicester Square, surrounded by another gaudy, colourful Christmas Market. Inside the tent it is even more gaudy and colourful. The performers flaunt outlandish costumes, but they also flaunt well-honed, hunky bodies in the (almost) all-together. The senses are assailed by throbbing sound and dazzling light, and the theme of Outer Space leaves one feeling spaced out!

These reviews are supposed to state what genre the show belongs to, but it is difficult to slot this show into any one genre. Circus comes closest, perhaps, as there are dazzling displays of acrobatic bravado, juggling skills and general clowning. Burlesque is also a good label; indeed, Briefs Factory, an Aussie collective that emerged from unlikely origins in an unfashionable part of Brisbane, are 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.

The auditorium was absolutely packed for last night’s performance, which bodes well for this eight-week run. 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.

About The Author

Trustee & Reviewer (UK)

Richard McKee is a lawyer, and used to be a judge, but despite that (or because of that) he likes comedy, cabaret and pantomime.  These are the things that he reviews for Plays to See, for which – in view of his great age – he is also a trustee.  He leaves the serious stuff to the young!  But seriously, though, he thinks it is a great idea for young reviewers to hone their critical faculties and communication skills by writing for Plays to See, and feels privileged to be involved in its current expansion.

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