Briefs: Close Encounters

Nightlife, Cabaret and burlesque
5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(26user reviews)
Briefs, Close Encounters
© Kate Pardey

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars

Aussie boylesque troupe 'Briefs' are back with another gloriously cheeky live show

'Briefs' comes to Christmas Leicester Square in November 2018. This review is from 2017.

Shivannah – the host-cum-ringmaster of racy cabaret-circus show ‘Briefs’ – is so engaging that even his pre-show request for us to turn our phones off is entertaining. And that sort of says it all, because from that moment of usually-nondescript-theatre-admin the ‘Briefs’ boys will have every speck of your attention.

In fact, even before the troupe emerge in their pastel morning suits – no shirts, obvs – the tent is in full-on celebration mode, with a party playlist blaring as the audience takes their seats. It’s a welcome return to the South Bank for the Brisbane boys, who’ve sold out their London shows for the past three seasons.

With a raid-worthy wardrobe – there’s feathers, lamé and huge beaded necklaces for everyone – this time their exhausting-sounding combo of comedy, drag, burlesque, contemporary dance and circus has a sci-fi spin. They’ve come to visit our grim present from the oh-so-glittery future to show us that things get better (thankfully without the use of a ‘D:Ream’ number) and how to get there (nice manners will help, apparently).

There are far-ranging references, going from ‘Armageddon’ to ‘Alice in Wonderland’, with a ‘bunny rabbit’ performing simple-seeming – but actually kind of mind-blowing – tricks with alarm clocks. Meanwhile, Mark ‘Captain Kidd’ Winmill has mouths agog as he flips and twists around in an awe-inspiring aerial display: his trapeze skills are matched only by his eye makeup. Rivalling him in the dizzying aerial displays is Thomas Worrell, who spins around in a man-sized bird cage. It’s hold-your-breath-oh-my-god-what-if-he-falls levels of spectacular.

With all the energy of a hen party on acid, from beginning to end every member of the troupe will have your eyes glued to the stage, or the air – basically wherever they happen to be shimmering around at that moment. Go forth and be entertained by this close encounter of the fabulous kind.

Time Out called Briefs' last show 'fabulously sexy and seriously clever' - read our full review here.


Users say (26)

5 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:18
  • 4 star:7
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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Make sure you get yourself a ticket next time these guys are in town; this show is nothing you'd expect and more. Expect a wicked concoction of "boy"-lesque, drag, dance, acrobats and comedy but please don't let my description fool you into thinking this is a half-arsed performance; the Briefs team perform to the highest standard and I laughed from start until finish.

Set in the future, the Aussie entertainers transport the audience into the future with a fabulously fierce bearded drag queen delivering political and poignant statements regarding world peace and equality. 

This is a truly amazing, feel good (and a little cheeky) show that will not disappoint. 


Yes, yes, yes. All the yes. I really didn't know what to expect when I grabbed these tickets but it surely did not disappoint! A little bit of drag, a little of cabaret and a little bit of gymnastics. 

If you're thinking about it - definitely do it!


When I got tickets for briefs, I wasn't sure what to expect. From the opening line, 'If you've come for Magic Mike then you've been ripped off, right to the end of the show expect pure comedy genius combined with jaw-droppingly good acrobatics, dancing and entertainment. 

If you don't go, you will be missing out and 'jealousss' of everyone who does! 


If you don't get to see this show you will be "Jealoussss"🖐

This is a fantastic, light-hearted boylesque style show with some really hot guys to make your heart go grrrr! The only "odd" performance for me was a contemporary number, but there was a joke after it that made it all worthwhile! Without giving too much away just take my recommendation and watch these amazing guys do their thing!


Fun, fabulous, fierce and with more firm buns on display than a Greggs bakery, this 'boylesque' show had me smiling throughout. You can definitely feel a big change in the tempo between the first and second half of the show, which descends into brilliant chaos by the end. The host is great and all of the entertainers are, well... thoroughly entertaining. You probably won't have seen anything like it before, and you probably won't see anything like it again!


Magic Mike who???


This show is a great mixture of things I really enjoy: drag performance, circus acts, spreading awareness about current political issues...and of course watching beautiful performers.

The show was super entertaining, me and my friend had the best Thursday ever.

P.s: make sure you have change with you for a raffle ticket ;)


Hold onto your nipple tassels and prepare for liftoff on the Briefs mothership; this is one wild ride from start to finish. The music matched with spectacular dancing and aerial performance perfectly, with a whole heap of drag comedy realness thrown in.


This show has a bit of everything - LGBTQ+ magic mike/drag/burlesque/circus. If you are after an evening of great entertainment and bare bottoms then this is definitely for you (it helps that the guys are also extremely ripped!!!) It was a little self indulgent at times but i think that’s what you sign up for. The acts are absolutely mesmerising, especially the acrobats and dancers.

I came away with my cheek muscles aching from the sheer amount of smiling and laughter. A great evening out and I would definitely recommend.

P.s. don’t buy a raffle ticket if you aren’t comfortable being taken up on stage 😂


Absolutely Fabulous. This is such a great evening out. The dancers are utterly amazing and thoroughly entertaining. I went with a friend who had seen two of the previous shows and they loved it too. I would definitely recommend. The host is very entertaining and the squad of dancers who perform it 6 inch stilettos, hanging from hoops and bird cages are incredible. Spoiler alert: the rabbit with his alarm clocks is hilarious. 


Just to give you an idea of how Briefs starts, the main dancers will be vogueing around the main stage and near you holding two giant powder puffs that are twirled around like pom-poms. But although the Leicester Square Spiegeltent is very close to the Hippodrome, make no mistake: the Briefs crew might be starting in a Magic Mike-esque set-up, yet their show is not about being macho. It's everything you might want from the future of drag and of the world... which for them means a planet where individuality, love and your choice gender or lack thereof are celebrated, and where everyone campaigns for those who have no voice. So get ready: the Briefs crew are going to snatch your edges and throw them off a cliff. This riot of a show is NSFW, not pc but also terribly inclusive and loving. It features skilled aerial performers, drag queens, lip syncing, vogueing, dancing and boylesque at its best. You are going to leave with your cheeks hurting for too much laughing, and with no voice at all for too much cheering... and trust me, if you don't cheer these performers on, there MUST be something wrong with you. 


When my friend invited me to a see this 'boylesque' show I honestly didn't know what to expect.  But what a raucous, fun night out this is! This drag cabaret show is a wonderful mix of dance, circus, acrobatics and comedy that I was mesmerised from start to finish.  It completely surpassed my initial expectations (which I could only really base on the website and show poster).

Two standout acts were the aerial birdcage acrobatics and the bunny rabbit with the alarm clock. I challenge anyone not to be entertained by this talented group of performers.

Wow what can I say this was such a great night out, I loved every minute of it. The host was great and really ran the show, all of the acts were so different but all entertaining. Will definitely be watching this show again next time it's in town.


Cannot give this amazing show anything less than 5 stars! Absolutely fabulous, funny, entertaining and meaningful.

Even though the different acts are a bit bonkers, there is a general theme kept throughout, about being onboard a flight to the future, where everything is brighter, full of love and glitter and where everyone can be whoever they damn want to be. Shivannah was a great “captain” and with hilarious commentary and a big dose of self-irony managed to pass through beautiful messages about love, acceptance and tolerance without getting too political.

The dance acts were really good; creative, moving and beautiful. From contemporary dance to acrobatics it was an amazing mashup of different styles and music genres. I loved it!


A fabulous show with a mix of burlesque, circus & theatre. This talented Australian company willentertain you with aerial acts, magic, dance numbers and funny acts. I would definitely go to see the show again and again. These guys – most in drag- are absolutely fantastic. Outstanding show!


Yet another incredibly camp, dragtastic, sexy, arousing, and iconic performance by The Briefs Factory in Southbank's very own Underbelly Fest spiegeltent.

The Briefs Factory market themselves as a 'male burlesque' extravaganza but in truth, this act is so very much more. The just-under-2-hour show, performed by a troupe of eight beautiful men, is a mixture of burlesque, dance, circus, strip show and stand-up, held together by a political statement of equality and world peace. 

This is the third time I have been to see the show but this year they have brought a new production and cast together for yet another exciting and high-energy show. Set in the future where the world has overcome prejudice, discrimination and general idiocy, it cleverly supplies non-stop entertainment whilst filling the audience with hopefullness of a better world to come.

Make sure you stick around after the show for pictures and drinks with the cast who are all lovely; a bunch of very talented yet humble guys from Down Under.

Make sure you go to this limited run performance!


Hmmmmm was a bit sceptical, when I saw the poster and wasn't sure what to expect. It's described as a male burlesque and I was wondering what this was going to be like.

We were seated and they were playing some 80/90s tunes in the background whilst people were buying drinks and getting their seats.

The show started promptly and was great! These were very talented male performers, who had amazing upper body strength. The acrobatics and dances were phenomenal.

Think of it as a male version of cirque du soleil.

I was pleasantly surprised, the performance only was 1 hour and 40 mins but was great.


Considering all of the rave reviews I feel a bit mean for only giving the show three stars but I just did not enjoy it as much as everyone else seems to #sorrynotsorry.

I've been to a lot or burlesque shows and I love them but I only liked about 50% of the acts because I found a lot of them cheesy or boring rather than the funny and interesting that I'm sure they were going for. 

I normally find contemporary dance graceful and moving but there is nothing graceful or moving about someone flinging them self across the stage in their pants and t-shirt before stripping of said garments to reveal a bizarre combination of political statements and jokes. If that act was supposed to be purely satire then I'm afraid I missed the joke.

There were elements that I did really enjoy. The opening act is strong with so much going on you won't even be sure where to look but in a good way. I also really enjoyed the ring, the cage and the baton routines as well as the closing act and I thought Shivannah was amazingly funny.

My other gripe with the show is the cost. Thirty odd pounds isn't balance breaking but the show only lasts an hour. I've bought front row seats to west end shows for less than that and the last burlesque show i went to at Udderbelly was £10.

If you do go, be sure to be on time otherwise you will miss the brilliant opening sequence and watch out for the raffle that goes round!


Fun, sexy, life affirming. Whether you're straight, LGBTQ or anything beyond, you need to see this amazing 'boylesque' show.

Guided throughout the evening by an hilarious 7ft bearded drag queen, each performer shows such charisma and skill that even a few balls accidentally dropped during juggling or a stray baton needing to be picked up off the floor during a twirling routine are easily forgiven. The acts come so thick and fast that nothing has a chance of overstaying its welcome, and the acrobatics in particular are so good you only wish there were more.

Yes there's a gratuitous amount of flesh on show from the all-male cast, but it's never lewd. Instead, the only thing each member waves in your face is their sheer talent.

I've attended Udderbelly/Underbelly every year since it came to Southbank and this is, without doubt, the best thing I've seen. Be sure to check it out for a top night out that's not to be missed.


There's something for everyone in this show, contemporary dance, aerial hoop/cage, acrobatics, street dance performed by a cast of 7 Australian men of all different shapes, sizes and physiques. The host was hilarious and fabulous and was great at getting everyone involved and revved up. I just wish it would have gone on longer, I would have happily sat through 2 hours, with an interval to get more drinks.

I had already been to one of the best burlesque shows in my life, at the underbelly on south bank. So when I was given the opportunity to see another, it definitely had a lot to live up to. I mean what's better than seeing fabulous, sassy and sexy ladies, strutting their stuff to and amazing soundtrack... watching a group of even more fabulous, even more sassy and well lets face it the finest specimens of manhood shake their stuff even better than those of my own gender. For the whole hour I was in awe, and also slightly jealous, of the acrobatics, the dance moves and the magnificent costumes. Besides making me realise my goal in life is to be half as fabulous as any one of these stunning gentlemen, it also made me want to dress my boyfriend up and teach him the ways of sass. Because let's face it what's not more awesome than a man with magnificent beard shaking his booty with the best of us.


Comedy, acrobatic choreography meet male burlesque, that's how I would describe the show. Tastefully done and thoroughly entertaining. The dancers are very talented. Yes there was some nudity but dont worry no full nudity shown.


I was lucky enough to get a couple of tickets to see Briefs: Close Encounters, at the Underbelly on the Southbank. I’ve been to the Underbelly quite a few times, and seen a number of shows, which have never disappointed.

I googled the show before, to see what I’d let myself in for, and saw a poster, of gorgeous men in high heels and make-up. I love that sort of stuff, so I was pretty excited to say the least.

Before we went in, the security guard asked me if I’d seen it before (I hadn’t), and told me he’d heard great things about it. My excitement was further heightened!

We took as seat in our booth, with our Time Out Tastemaker friends Jane and Iza, and we were greeted by a beautiful man, twirling impeccably, selling raffle tickets. I bought mine, and we waited for the show to start.

Have you seen Absinthe in Las Vegas? No? Well basically, it’s a mish-mash of different disciplines – people dancing in cages, hanging high above the stage, contemporary dance, burlesque…you get the picture. Well Briefs was similar, but it was a male-only cast!

The juggling was fast and furious, the rope and cage dancing was scary, the host was *fierce* and the show was funny.

Then it became time for the raffle to take place. I had tickets E 86 – E 100 (blue). The glamorous host called out ‘Blue’….. I wasn’t worried. ‘E…..’ – OK, starting to sweat a little now, but hey, there’s 85 other tickets before 86…. ‘Ninety…..’ Oh shit. I’ve got all the E Nineties……’EIGHT!’. 


‘YUP! That’s me!’

Cue audience clapping, beautiful man dragging me to the stage, and fierce host telling me not to touch them (before deciding that I could, because I won, and everyone else was *jealoussssss*).

First things first: spin the wheel of hell.

Oh god. What was it going to land on? What did it mean? Please don’t land on Hot Shave, they might think I’m a young guy and try and SHAVE ME.

‘And your prize is…….HOT SHAVE’.


I was instructed to take a seat on the chair that was patiently waiting, unoccupied behind me, and as the music kicked in, I was wheeled into full view of everyone.

Next thing….arses. So many arses. I spanked a lot of bottoms. Here’s me surrounded by a lot of bottoms.

Then…I was covered with a hairdressers cape, and approached by a bearded beauty, who sprayed shaving foam on his nipples and upper thigh. Yes, you can probably guess what happened next.

There were no signs anywhere saying don’t take photos, otherwise we wouldn’t have, and a lot of people were taking photos, so we assume we were allowed to do so .I don’t think my girlfriend would’ve allowed me to be up there without getting photographic evidence anyway!

All in all, a fantastic show, a lot of laughs, and a gorgeous, charismatic cast. Go and see it!

Score: 4.5/5

This show was "sexcellent" - a new adjective that I intend to use at every opportunity and describes it so well. Funny, glittery, athletic and hot as hell!

The stunts and tricks were, at times, jaw dropping and I constantly found myself having to pick my mouth up off the floor - for the stunts or the beautiful bodies on stage, who can say?

The host and the rest of the dancers were funny and highly entertaining and made me laugh until I was crying at one point. They also found points to be particularly poignant and political but it wasn't overbearing!

I would highly, highly recommend taking EVERYONE to see this show, there is no one who it wouldn't appeal to. It is on until the end of September and I am already planning a trip to go see it with some of my gal pals before it is over this year.

Ps. Buy a raffle ticket- you wouldn't want to be "jealouss"

When I was trying to describe the show we were about to see to my Mum, I described it as:

"drag meets strippers with a hint of cabaret covered in glitter", and after seeing the show I think this is a good description. 

Without giving too much away, you will board the Briefs ship and be transported to not another planet but another dimension. Your senses will be abused, in a good way, with fantastical sights and sounds ranging from beautiful aerial hoop displays to a mind boggling science themed juggling display. The compare was hilarious and beautifully dressed, making me very envious of his shoes. 

The music was fantastic, making everyone feel in the party mood. 

You will exit the theatre wondering if what you have really seen was real, but trust me, it was. Take a seat, sit back, relax and open your mind to the weird and wonderful show that is Briefs: Close Encounters. 

My only criticism is it was felt to short! I wanted more! And a tip- get there early to get a good seat as they are not allocated. But don't worry, they know how to work the stage. 


"The future is sparkly" said the host of this fabulous all male burlesque show and I thought this was such a positive message to send out. Filled with acrobatics, political messages and lots of sexy stripping this show had it all and left me feeling so positive and full of energy. 

There were a variety of performances spanning from emotional ballet where one man stripped off around 6 different shirts which all had important messages on them like 'speak for those who can't' to drag queens strutting to Nicki Minage. All acts were incredibly impressive and the skill of each performer was jaw dropping. I would recommend this show to everyone and would happily see it again.


This isn't going to be the most polished show you ever see and it definitely isn't Cirque du Soleil, but I had a great time and hadn't laughed so much in ages!  The guys are all great and it's a good mix of pure athleticism, campness and comedy and the lack of clothes isn't the main element of the show at all.  A fun evening out.