Fringe Review: Hot Brown Honey will leave you thrilled and inspired
Hot Brown Honey is a melange of comedy, hip hop beats, contemporary dance, circus and cabaret conspiring to change the way its audience sees the world.
The cast includes immensely talented women from Maori, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Samoan, Tongan, Indonesian and South African heritage who have joined together in a subversive tour de force under the rallying cry of ‘decolonise and moisturise’.
The sheer inventiveness of the performances is stunning, showcasing the unique talents of each of the women involved.
Ghenoa Gela is a mischevious, magnetic presence, owning the stage but never upstaging her fellow performers. She’s fresh from a successful run of her one woman show My Urrwai at Belvoir theatre and is brimming with well-deserved confidence.
The brilliant Lisa Fa'alafi dresses herself from thin air - if there is anything in this show that comes close to a magic act, this is it. She subverts our expectations of burlesque while simultaneously giving the middle finger to outdated, colonialistic notions of Polynesian women.
Perth local Ofa Fotu brings, as always, her breathtaking vocals to a solo performance of 'It’s a Mans Mans Mans World'. She does so dressed as a golliwog in a world where, apparently, 30% of people think that they are harmless toys and not a symbol of a racist past - or indeed present, as we are reminded throughout the show.
Crystal Stacey is both a made-in-Australia meth head hula hooper gyrating through Bali and a woman experiencing domestic violence in a heart rendering display of aerial acrobatics, highlighting her versatility and depth as a performer. Weaving these stories together is the Queen of the Hive, Kim 'Busty Beatz' Bowers, with masterful beatboxer Mateheare Hope ‘Hope One’ Haami as her comedic foil.
This show will punch you in the face with its radical intersectional feminist messages, but it is not a ‘worthy’ show - the kind you feel you ‘should’ see. You will leave feeling the joy of a potential better world, and your role in it, not the weight of shame. For every pointed jab there is a comforting inspirational quote, and for every political point there is outlandish satirical humour. The performers balance the mood of the show perfectly, never letting tension hang in the air for so long that the audience becomes disengaged.
I promised a hyperbole-free review, and here it is. This is the best show you will see at Fringe this year.