A Close Encounter With Fez Faanana From Briefs

The Briefs mother ship has just crash-landed on London’s Southbank for an alien invasion of the third kind. The Australian creative collective are back in town with a euphoric new show, Close Encounters.

Featuring their trademark heart-stopping blend of cabaret burlesque, Aussie machismo and punkish swagger, these extra-terrestrial invaders are taking no prisoners. Having glitter-bombed the globe, the boys are now exploring the third dimension to test the limits of masculinity, taste and decency.

Energy levels are as sky high as previous outings as the guys mix up a blend of dancing, tumbling, juggling, acro-balancing, trapeze, hula hooping, lip-syncing, sequins, feathers and frocks.

“We try and create this idiotic, irreverent, fun, entertaining world,” says Fez Faanana – the Director of Briefs, and the man responsible for hosting their life-affirming show as Commander Shivannah.

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Pic credit: Kate Pardey

It’s a memorable troupe. The Las Vegas award-winning Captain Kidd takes proceedings to the outer limits with his alluring athleticism. The anarchic alien provocateur Harry Clayton-Wright goes where no man has gone before with his mix of comedy, cabaret and live art. The elastic android Thomas Gundry Greenfield bends eyes with his twists and turns. One of Australia’s leading aerialists, contortionists and circus trainers, Thomas Worrell, defies gravity and literally ties himself in knots as he takes a lone space walk over the audience. The queer Kamilaroi man from Mungindi Dale Woodbridge Brown goes into hyper-drive with his acrobatics, flying trapeze, baton twirling, and dance. And Louis Biggs sets his phaser to stun as he has the audience gasping for mercy.

“Sometimes people get dragged to our show and they say they’ve been converted,” says Faanana.

“Predominantly the show is about celebrating life. At the top of the show you often see girls that have dragged their boyfriends along, and the guys are really uncomfortable. But by the end the guys are whispering ‘jealous’, and they’re reciting all the catchphrases that happen throughout the show!”

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Pic credit: John Tsiavis

Briefs began almost a decade ago in 2008 on Brisbane’s alternative variety scene initially setting out to create an informal space where professional performers could test drive innovative, late night cabaret acts. In 2010, they transitioned from the late night performance club to a performance ensemble when the company was engaged to create its first ‘official’ full-length work. Over the last five years Briefs have swaggered, shimmied, swished and swung all over the world, selling out in London, Berlin, Paris, Auckland, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide.

I went to London’s Southbank to meet Briefs Director Fez Faanana to chat about the UK premiere of their brand new show and their growth in popularity.

Watch the interview below.

● Briefs : Close Encounters runs at Underbelly Festival, Southbank until Sept 30 

● More about: Briefs 

Tags : BriefsFez Faanana
Phil Marriott

The author Phil Marriott

As well as holding the Head of Music position, Phil currently presents the Sunday mid-morning show on Gaydio - the world’s biggest LGBT dance radio station. As a DJ, he has supported Tiesto and played for clubbing brands Fierce Angel and SupermartXe. He is one half of a remix duo with DJ Rich B and also produces the PMKEpodcast with singer Katherine Ellis, the LDN Vegans YouTube channel with Polly Harvey, and produces and presents Boys On Film with Raj Rudolph from EQ Music Blog.