Hot Brown Honey @ Gilded Balloon

Encourages and instigates conversation whilst being a whole load of fun

Review by Deborah Klayman | 14 Aug 2018
  • Hot Brown Honey

Australian cabaret sensations Hot Brown Honey are back in Edinburgh with their fierce mix of burlesque, hip-hop, circus and dance. Founded in 2013 by Lisa Fa'alafi and Busty Beatz, this performance collective mixes these traditional forms with themes of misogyny, colonialism and racial stereotypes to foster conversations and challenge the status quo.

The outstanding cast comprises Fa'alafi, Beatz, Ofa Fotu, Matehaere Hope ‘Hope One’ Haami, Elena Wangurra and Crystal Stacey, with performances set on and around a giant beehive that pulses with each act. Female empowerment and social change are the backbone of this high-octane show, underscored by Busty Beatz silky vocals and Haami’s breathtaking beatboxing skills.

The way the performers subvert the medium is truly inspired, from Fa'alafi’s reverse striptease to Haami’s beatbox seduction and the ensemble numbers You Are Not The Maid and Don’t Touch My Hair. There is humour, there is ingeniousness, and there is justifiable rage. Stacey’s spectacular final aerial sling act, which uncomfortably juxtaposes the skill and beauty of her moves with a domestic abuse narrative, is devastating and stays with you long after you leave the theatre.

Always well-balanced, this production encourages and instigates conversation whilst being a whole load of fun. They even highlight the need to support mothers who are performers, and offer the audience the chance to contribute. The Hot Brown Honey women are loud and proud, and in the age of #MeToo you can expect, and hope, to see more of their work and of others they inspire.

Hot Brown Honey, Gilded Balloon (Debating Hall), 3-27 Aug (not 15, 23), £12.50-£8.50

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