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Briefs: Bite Club at the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall

Sometimes a match really is made in heaven and that is very true when songwriter Sahara Beck met Fez Faanana and the two started collaborating on something very special. The result is Briefs: Bite Club which is briefly touching down at the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall before heading to Edinburgh. Now I had seen a ‘Briefs’ show back in 2018. At that time I started my review with the words “For the uninitiated, let me try and explain the unexplainable.” I’m pleased to say that in 2022, I can start in the same way. It is very difficult to explain the show. I suppose you could call it cabaret on a big scale. Music, burlesque, strip, drag, circus, chat, comedy, pathos. All of these make up roughly 110 minutes as Shivannah and the troop perform to the music of Sahara.

Bite Club Briefs Sahara Beck
Bite Club Briefs Sahara Beck

The show started as we entered the auditorium with the cast out there greeting the audience and, rather incongruously, selling raffle tickets. If you get a chance, when you go, then definitely buy a ticket, it’s well worth it if you win, and if not, you get to feel the exquisite pain that is jealousy of the winner.

The show itself is a series of what could be described as real-life music videos with some form of performance accompanying the songs of Sahara Beck. As each of the songs was an original, so the accompanying performance was. To be honest, I could easily have gone to a Sahara Beck concert. They are a really wonderful performer with an amazing voice and fabulous stage presence.

If the songs were great in their own right, then adding the performance element lifted them to a higher plane. And each performance was very different and, as an audience member, you never knew what to expect. For example, one song was accompanied by the King of Burlesque, Mark ‘Captain Kidd’ Winmill leaving his see-through pool to perform on a trapeze. Another had the weirdest quick change ever – I bet you’ve never seen one done on a treadmill before. And another had sock puppets behind the ears of the band. The surprises and thrills just kept on coming. For obvious reasons I’m not going to go into too much more detail as to what you will see.

All told, I thoroughly enjoyed Briefs: Bite Club. For me, the show was too short and the interval too long. I really wanted more, but maybe I’m greedy like that. It’s quirky, and surprising. Be aware there is colourful language and at least one moment of, very welcome, full-frontal nudity. But on the whole, Briefs: Bite Club is a show for everyone and the audience on the night I attended certainly had a great time and the standing ovation at the end was thoroughly deserved.

If I were summing up Briefs: Bite Club I would say, go in expecting the unexpected and you won’t be disappointed. As my companion, Lynne said to me afterwards “I didn’t know what to expect. I’m still not sure what I’ve seen but I absolutely loved it.” And I don’t think I can sum it up any better than that.

4 stars

Review by Terry Eastham

Brisbane’s cult cabaret mischief-makers, circus stars and heart-stopping hooligans Briefs Factory join forces with celebrated songbird Sahara Beck for an outrageous show.

Until 31 Jul 2022
Queen Elizabeth Hall

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1 thought on “Briefs: Bite Club at the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall”

  1. Amanda Clarke-Jonas

    We were really disappointed. We have been to four other Briefs shows and loved them all. We felt this one had completely lost their edge and was not a burlesque show. If we wanted to see a woman performer singing we would have bought tickets to a different show. Real shame they seem to have sold out. Won’t be going again and wouldn’t recommend if you liked their previous shows in the Spiegel Tent.

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