EdFringe 2022 Review: Briefs – Sweatshop

Briefs made two appearances at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Bite Club featuring the much-loved Briefs boys who joined forces with chanteuse Sahara Beck, and also Briefs: Sweatshop. The latter is a drag-centric spin-off hosted by Tash York, which sees a variety of drag talents including Drag Race Down Under’s Kween Kong take part in a sweatshop of dazzling high camp entertainment.

The Sweatshop opens with a pounding remix of Ayesha Erotica’s that’s hot as lighting flashes and neons pulse around the Assembly Gardens’ Palais du Variete. Drag star Serenity takes to the stage with a dazzling, high energy aerial routine which takes the show off to a powerhouse start. Further circus skills follow with fellow queen Nastiah, complete with a huge swinging ponytail providing a fierce routine of hair-flipping and skills on balancing posts – complete with spectacularly high heels.

The comedy of Sweatshop delves between slapstick, musical and the well-pitched interactions between host Tash York and the fellow queens – particularly Tash and Serenity’s relationship which is played with a sharp comic awkwardness. Cast member Dale delivers a routine in which he drinks from a straw through his nose, whilst presenting some comic clowning – yet the sharpest comic treat comes from host Tash. The hostess promises to concoct a song on the spot based on something an audience member did for money, but now regrets – as well as some keywords generated by other audience members. Cue an immaculately constructed musical number involving Argentinian pesos, felching, and snorting aspirin. Tash’s comic ingenuity and musical sharpness is a real highlight – something which we get to experience again in a version of Celine Dion’s It’s All Coming Back to Me Now complete with a bubble machine.

Kween Kong takes the reins in a high-energy dance routine to Chlöe’s Treat Me – gaining further awe due to Kong’s injured knee. She is a force to be reckoned with, owning every moment she is on stage with a captivating prowess. Drag Race fans get something of a further treat in the expected Briefs raffle in which two audience members are dragged up on stage, and then dragged up again in an introvert’s nightmare, yet enjoyable piece of Fringe audience interaction.

Briefs: Sweatshop shines through the talents and camaraderie between its cast, who undeniably know how to craft a rowdy, polished late night circus spectacular.

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