FRINGEWORLD 2018 | Hot Brown Honey | 5 stars

Review | Laura Money

Are you ready to MAKE SOME NOISE?!

Well, the ladies of The Hive sure are – it’s their cross-pollination tour and believe me, these fierce women are coming to a town near you with their unapolagetic, unflinching, and unbelievable talents and message. Drawing heavily from the influence of the Black Panther movement of the seventies, and using the powerful art of Vernon Ah Kee and other First Nations artists, the ladies of Hot Brown Honey bring generations of oppression crashing down in this highly important and entertaining show.

Under the inspirational leadership of DJ Busty Beatz, a tongue-in-cheek character who recognises the importance of moisturising in between decolonising – these First Nations ladies are here to not only challenge the stereotypes imposed upon them but to shatter them to pieces. Opening in a funky and, frankly awesome show-stopping number that references the feathered ‘fan dances’ of historically black performances, and showgirls, they reclaim the dance to create something spectacular. It’s all uphill from here! Busty Beatz sits atop her hive and sermonises to the crowd. There are important lessons – all rendered with hilarity – this isn’t an in your face show in the sense that you’ll feel uncomfortable. If you do, that probably says more about your attitudes than it does these women.

From funny mantras like: YOU ARE NOT THE MAID! to breaking down the stereotypes of First Nations costumes and dances – removing the ‘exotica’ attached to the little island girl and shoving ‘harmless fun’ golliwogs right in your face. All of the women here are supremely talented – from hula hoops, to dancing, to the smooth and inspirational voice of Ofa Fatu (local Perth girl!) and they showcase their talents in a way that shows them off, rather than exploits them. This show is written by us, for everyone.

There are some serious messages here – in a show where everyone is screaming and stamping their feet, the silence is palpable when a straps act violently and poignantly addresses domestic violence. It’s uncomfortable to watch an underwear-clad figure writhe about in a grotesque pantomime of being assaulted. Despite its hilarious depiction, the Bali Bogan routine takes white Australia and its deep compulsion to colonise even when on holiday, and elicits much applause. There is a dance where an Aboriginal woman shirks off the oppressive Australian flag to wear her own costume. Finally, the fetishising of black hair is addressed in a powerful, yet funny segment – ‘don’t touch my hair.’

Hot Brown Honey is the feminist anthem of women of colour. In a world where women of colour are usually excluded from all movements, this show brings them hurtling powerfully back into the spotlight. These women are loud, proud and not going anywhere. Not only will they no longer sit at the back of the bus, these ladies are getting in the driver’s seat, and spreading their message all around the world! I read in a review that this show isn’t for everyone. No way – THIS SHOW IS FOR EVERYONE! It’s the most important show of FRINGEWORLD 2018, so go and see it more than once and shout it from the rooftops!

WHEN: 8 – 25 February 2018 | 8:45pm

WHERE: Teatro | The Pleasure Garden | Northbridge

INFO: Tickets $30 – $38 | Duration 75 mins | Suitable 15+ | THEATRE






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