Thursday 21 March 2019

Close Encounters review

It goes without saying that a night out watching the Briefs boys is going to be a hugely entertaining one. Fortunately, this cheeky bunch of jaw dropping talent has finally brought its newest show, Close Encounters, to Melbourne for a limited run at the Arts Centre. This time round, the troupe of sexy and energetic performers, led by their divine captain Shivannah (Fez Fa’anana), have come from the future to assure us that the human race is surviving and everything – and everyone - we are fighting for right now will be worth it.

What follows are a variety of cabaret, burlesque, circus and dance numbers that draw awareness to the importance of using our voices, particularly for those who don’t have the ability to, and for celebrating and loving everyone around us. The acts come thick and fast without the slightest of lulls. Even with a small wardrobe malfunction, Louis Biggs ensures he has firm control over his balls with an impressive juggling striptease act. The paired routine between aerialist Thomas Worrell swinging in a human birdcage and Shivannah is breath-taking in its execution and a powerful moment in expressing the humanity inside each of us.

Captain Kidd dazzles the audience with his fierce aerial and hoop performances. There is a fire that burns inside him that spreads out to the audience and has you leaving the room feeling empowered. A solo dance number by Brett Rosengreen displays the speed and grace in which the human body can move and his later duet with Luke Hubbard brings the laughs but also serves as a timely reminder in finding the light inside the darkness. The clowning by Dale Woodbridge-Brown is the perfect release between acts and his sassy banter with the audience is well-received. 

For all its political messages, Close Encounters is still about having fun and letting loose, so naturally there is a thumping soundtrack to accompany all the acts, and it isn't long before you find yourself dancing along in your seat. There is a complex and incredibly effective lighting design by Paul Lim to the acts, with strobe, silhouette and shadow lighting supporting the space travel theme. Dallas Dellaforce has outdone himself with his costume design, ensuring they all have a sexiness, playfulness and sci-fi aesthetic to them.

It only takes Briefs 75 minutes to convince us that we can change the world. That we have a lot more power and strength than we think we do. Imagine what we could do if we all used the privileged positions we are in to help make that change sooner rather than later? With only three nights left, it is recommended to book your tickets as soon as possible because if you miss this show, then be prepared to be extremely… jealoussss… 

Venue: Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne.
Season: until 24 March| Thurs - Fri 8pm, Sat 6pm and 9:30pm, Sun 4pm and 8pm.
Tickets: $42 - $72
Bookings: Arts Centre Melbourne

Photo Credit: Kate Pardey

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