Christmas in Leicester Square
Reviewed – 1st December 2018
“There is indeed something radical-feeling about so many different kinds of beauty in one show”
I bought two raffle tickets from a drag queen with a fish bowl; one guy at the front bought, like, 100. Enthusiasm was in excess at last night’s special ‘Club Briefs’ fundraiser, by Briefs Factory, the Leicester Square-based ‘boylesque’ company, to support the Terrence Higgins Trust in honour of World AIDS Day. Performers and audience members alike hollered to show their love for the cause, and the event, which consisted of half-a-dozen high-quality burlesque performances, featuring men and women, and ranging in style from comedic to soaringly acrobatic.
The acts were sexy – boy, were they – and artful. Some poked fun at cultural stereotypes, or played with the audience’s expectations of sex on stage. All the acts played with gender norms in some way or another. As one audience member, James, who welled up with tears during the final act, told me: “It’s reaching the limits of beauty, it’s crossing the lines, it’s defying things. It’s arguing with normal – it’s redefining normal. I’ve never felt normal, but I’ve never had the guts to be that far on the edge of the fringe.”
There is indeed something radical-feeling about so many different kinds of beauty in one show. Each time the curtain parted we cheered for a different skin shade, nation or culture of origin, a different skill, and a different style.
For some, Club Briefs might be a strip tease, for others, a freak show, but for everyone – and it is for everyone – Briefs Factory shows are a celebration of the human body and the personalities, cultures, quirks, and spirits that inhabit it.
Yesterday’s show concluded with a dance party, drag queens and gymnasts and audience members and starched-collar kids from the suburbs jumping and dancing together to techno-pop. Under the strobe lights, everyone was fabulous.
Reviewed by Louis Train
Christmas in Leicester Square until 29th December
Other Briefs Factory shows: