Cabaret with balls
Cabaret with balls

The Circus Briefs are a bunch of beefcake drag-circus performers from Queensland who are excited to be returning to Perth after almost stripping the canvas from the roof of the De Parel Spiegeltent at their first appearance last year.

Circus Briefs creative director Fez Faanana also doubles as the MC, the lovechild of the bearded lady and the ringmaster, who says the show pays homage to vaudeville, circus, dance, clowning and drag while inverting cultural correctness and gender roles.

Caught on the phone from his '65 Chrysler Valiant on a roadside somewhere between Brisbane and the NSW border, Faanana says the boys are enjoying a break from a touring circuit that included a successful season at Edinburgh Fringe last year.

"We've had a pretty crazy year, which kicked off at the Sydney Festival and then over to Perth for our first Fringe World," he says.

The touring circuit was buzzing with talk about the success of Fringe World after its pilot year in 2011.

"There has been such amazing talk going on about it all over the world," Faanana says. "Wherever we have been, artists who were there last year and the year before had an amazing time and many of them are coming back again.

"Fringe World has done an amazing job of putting itself on the map. It is a great way to check off an Aussie tour for a lot of the international artists to start in Perth, go to Adelaide and even the comedy festival in Melbourne if they can make it that far."

The six-man troupe traces its origins to Brisbane's fringe scene in 2008, when they were inspired by their friends - the all-female La La Parlour act - to create a show to celebrate Brisbane's top male circus performers. "There were plenty of variety shows doing amazing work around the world and I guess we had something different with an all-male burlesque with balls kind of show," Faanana says.

All six performers are multi-skilled and met through Brisbane's youth-based Flipside Circus, he says. "We were all teaching there, though I came more from a dance background than a circus background. I worked with Flipside choreographing and directing some of their end-of-year shows."

With six big blokes doing hair-raising stunts on a small stage in a tiny Spiegeltent, anything can happen - and often does.

"The element of danger is always something that excites the performer and the audience when it comes to circus," Faanana says. "The Spiegeltent is the perfect world for the show because it is a set within itself that transforms the audience into a different mindset and a different world.

"The audience can be more a part of the ridiculousness going on up on the stage."

Circus Briefs are at The West Australian Idolize Spiegeltent from January 29 to February 8 and 10-11 at 7.30pm.

The West Australian

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