EdFringe 2022 Review: Briefs – Bite Club

“…a decadent night of hedonistic escapism.”

Two shows from Australian cabaret favourites Briefs make an appearance at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. Briefs: Bite Club sees the Briefs boys join forces with chanteuse Sahara Beck for an evening of variety including music, circus, drag, burlesque, theatre and comedy.

Shivannah, Captain Kidd, Brett Rosengreen and Louis Biggs make up the Briefs team combining a mix of comedy routines, audience interaction, and circus spectacle in this seventy minute show housed in the Underbelly Circus Hub. Running until August 28th, Bite Club presents raucous cheeky fun paired with slick routines for a decadent night of hedonistic escapism.

With the four performers arriving from different sides of the venue donning elaborate brightly-coloured feathered outfits and fans, soundtracked to the sweet vocal tones of Sahara Beck, Bite Club hits the ground running. Pairing this fusion of cabaret-circus with live musical accompaniment creates a unique artistic style that heightens the scale and impact of the production. Beck sits somewhere between the worlds of singer-songerwriter pop, folk and country delving into her impressive discography throughout the Briefs boys’ routines, whilst also getting a few solo numbers to shine – such as a moment when she is elevated on a fairy-light adorned trapeze swing or another when she marches with her band around the venue. She’s a masterful talent and songs including Crack Bang Bang, Crave Me and Queen of Hearts all shine and will likely be instant playlist additions after the show.

The first act sees the truly gorgeous Louis Biggs attempting to charm Sahara, showcasing his moves on a treadmill. Slowly stripping items of clothing, Louis reveals a beautifully sculpted body as he layers the charm on a disinterested Sahara – ultimately baring all to little avail. It’s cheeky, sexy fun and highlights the hedonistic delights of Briefs. Shivannah whilst serving as emcee for the evening, takes part in a pageant inspired, dressing ritual soundtracked to a poignant Sahara number.

There is an impressive bird bath routine from Captain Kidd, playing like a sort of male version of Dita Von Teese’s iconic Martini glass number. Kidd keeps things edgy with a trapeze element added, with the star impressing in the sexy and energetic water-soaked number which has since become a staple of the Briefs shows. Brett Rosengreen reveals an elegant burlesque number as a moustachioed gentleman removing his evening wear in a sultry number, whilst Biggs returns for a juggling skit with Sahara’s drummer which is both amusing and impressive.

A segment of audience participation from a competition winner provides some playful fun as an amateur dramatics production builds around the unsuspecting woman waiting for her goody bag, whilst a large finale seeing the cast all donned in elegant red outfits presents a multitude of acts all taking place at one – from aerial work, balancing acts, and matador routines. It’s sensory overload in the most wonderful way – although this reviewer has to confess eyes his were glued to Biggs’ shirtless balancing umbrella and hat act.

Shivannah does fill her interactions with the audience with a little bit too much lockdown musings, with the suffering of the arts industry coming into focus several times. Understandably as an audience of theatre lovers at the world’s largest arts festival we sympathise to a huge degree and our presence indicates a clear value and welcome reconnection with live entertainment so it feels a little like she is preaching to the converted with the results hampering the previously energetic mood of Briefs. Thankfully the slick routines are able to quickly build momentum back up.

Briefs: Bite Club is a scintillating tour de force brimming with high calibre cabaret, circus and burlesque acts from the cast and simply delightful musical contributions from Sahara Beck and her live band.

Briefs: Bite Club runs until August 28th at Underbelly’s Circus Hub. Get tickets here.

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