Theatre Review: That Was It?


Note: This review was posted on the KC Stage review system.

Brawny Britches. Produced by BOYlesque Downtown Underground (part of the KC Fringe Festival). First produced 2010. (Seen July 30, 2010.)

When your preshow music includes a song from the stage version of The Full Monty and your show is touted as the male BDU, you’re dealing with a pretty high set of expectations. Unfortunately, Brawny Britches never quite lives up to them.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m a big fan of burlesque. In fact, I raved about Naughty Knickers in 2007 (which was BDU’s first Fringe performance). And I’ve been looking forward to this before it was even suggested: in fact, last year, I had the idea of doing male burlesque myself, but couldn’t afford the entry fee — and so was glad to see someone who could afford getting into the Fringe (and has a following) trying to pull this off.

Starting with “Eye of the Tiger”, the first dance number set the bar for pure dirty fun. And there were a couple of skits and dances (most notably the strip juggling and the one with the top hat which will make me never look at them the same way again) that were really on the ball. However, there were too many others (such as the Bob Dylan “Like a Rolling Stone” where the signs of the angel and devil weren’t quite in sync and far too much going on) that just left me flat.

Considering how much skin we normally see in a typical BDU production, I was also under-impressed with the actual strips offered by Britches. It wasn’t until the eighth item to where we even got some sexy underwear, with most of the others being baggy briefs or boxers. While I can understand the hesitance of showing full-frontal, at the same time showing a little ass isn’t too much to ask for in a production that has ‘guaranteed nudity’ (according to the description). Couldn’t they afford g-strings?

I was, however, impressed that BDU continued the tradition of casting a wide range of visual looks for the performers, and all the men had Attitude with a capital A that really sold the production. And BDU at least was smart enough to have their performances at a time and in a place where the booze can help loosen the audience up (and boy, were they loose).

Compared to what I’ve seen them do in the past, BDU’s Brawny Britches was a bit too tame — and while it was an okay show, it had potential to be so much more.

The KC Fringe Festival runs until August 1, 2010. For more information, visit the KC Fringe Festival website.

Read all of my Fringe reviews here

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