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Space Theatre, Tue 26 Sep.
Hot Brown Honey has been a smash hit at past Fringe Festivals in Adelaide and Edinburgh and is featured in this year’s OzAsia Festival in an attempt to broaden its focus as part of the 10th anniversary of the festival. Hot Brown Honey is loud, brash, raucous, assertive, and potentially offensive. It pulls no punches in staking out its territory and puts the spotlight squarely on the appalling treatment women have to suffer, and in particular those with dark skin.
It’s political comedy at a furious pace that draws on the various talents of its eight member multicultural cast to shock and inspire audiences to ‘make noise’, rock the boat, and join with them to right the wrongs of injustice and racism. They manage to successfully entertain and teach with a soundtrack of hip hop, dance routines, a touch of burlesque, and a narration that is a continual call to arms.
There’s quite wonderful lighting effects, and a clever use of a beehive theme that emphasises respect for all its members. A scene that has one of them struggling to release themselves from the suffocating shroud of the Australian flag is especially powerful.
It unashamedly taps into the modern audience’s desire to be part of the whoopin’ and a-hollerin’ and while this is an effective strategy for getting the audience involved, it does occasionally lead to premature and irritating outbursts of applause that I found irksome, but probably left the cast feeling satisfied they had achieved their goal of getting audience buy-in to ensure that they will call out racism when they see it. For this they should be commended.
It’s a shame that at times the combination of music and narration was loud to the point of distortion, and some of the message got lost in the din.
Still, it’s a high energy, courageous and provocative show that is immensely entertaining.
Hot Brown Honey continues at Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, at various times, until Sat 30 Sep.
Book at BASS on 131 246 and bass.net.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.
Image courtesy of Dylan Evans