It’s a packed house at Northcote Town Hall, not a single empty seat, and the audience is hungry for a show that is worth the hype that has and continues to build surrounding it. Led by the ever vivacious Busty Beats, this powerhouse ensemble commands your attention and has the audience, licking their lips wanting just a little bit more to savour. Hot Brown Honey, is a show that pushes the envelope, empowers and blurs the lines of political theatre.
There’s so many elements at work here, all of which together, create something truly next level, it’s not strictly dance, nor burlesque, circus nor spoken word, its everything together, placed side by side in equal measure, such a melding of styles so often results in shows that are loose, unable to hide a sense of disconnection between scenes, but Hot Brown Honey is an exception to this rule of disappointment. Some scenes leave the biggest smile across your face, the energy being that infectious, more than once you felt the prickle of goose bumps on your skin.
It’s a dense and impacting world they create for audience, one where at it’s core lies a desire to destroy social norms or conventions that are as commonplace in our society as they are questionable. The kind of messages here at the core of Hot Brown Honey, really communicates the important role theatre plays in pushing agenda , but there’s something about this show that does this in a way, that’s original, and it’s god damn exciting to see.
It raises a mirror to the audience as a whole, and asks us to look out ourselves, in both the collective and individual sense, it begins with a near tribal scene of choreography and striptease that left each of the performers dressed as maids, from their it digressed through a crash course of images relating to the “Australian identity” from both a local and global perspectives. Soon enough, however uncomfortable it was, we were all laughing at ourselves.
For a show that relies on tight humour and wit based on topical issues, it still managed to reach a dramatic crescendo, in one of final scenes that tackled violence against woman, set against the music of FKA Twigs, an electrifying, raw and confronting silk routine, performed by Crystal Stacey.
The lighting, and set- a massive beehive, illuminated at times, paired with a sound system more akin to rock concerts, not only matched the onstage antics, but help in raising the bar even higher, productions values like this should be looked upon by others as a clear example of how to do things right. Costume design, is also incredible, the melding of the traditional and contemporary further bridging the different cultures being represented in this show, it created something original from the same-old same-old burlesque shows, so often seen around town.
Hot Brown Honey was originally created in 2013- having already witnessed a long journey, one that is more than certain to continue, a relentless pace has been set for this ensemble. Hot Brown Honey seemingly continues to build hype and grow in both popularity and notoriety, most recently enjoyed 16 shows between both Melbourne and Adelaide to sell out crowds.
So if you where lucky enough to score a ticket to this show, then congratulations, you most certainly lucked out, as it only has two sold out shows remaining before closing on Saturday the 16th of April.