Opening like a stand-up show and ending like a dance hall, Hot Brown Honey is a movement set to some busty beats. It is 75 minutes of pulse thumping energy grooving to a feminist manifesto that is both righteous and unrepentantly entertaining. The six stars of this show don’t allow you to sit back and relax, rather they demand you to stand up, listen, and dance like the powerhouse you are.
Hot Brown Honey is set up as a series of vignettes presided over by The Queen Bee and DJ, Busty Beatz. She stands atop a pulsing hive of yellow and gold light while the remaining fierce five perform below.
Led by creator, writer, director, choreographer, and designer Lisa Fa’alafi (The Game Changer), the vignettes are a mix of burlesque, dance, circus, and music that pulls on more than just the heart strings.
Fa’alafi is rapturous dervish that flips facial expressions like she gets royalties on each one. She manipulates the expectation of burlesque to make bold, unapologetic statements by riding the audience’s reactions like a Cheshire cat train.
Ofa Fotu (The Myth Slayer) is an astounding vocalist who brings a steadying emotional heart to the show. Hope Haami (Hope One) elevates the show with the verbal gymnastics of a beatboxer while Elena Wangurra (The Truth Sayer) creates contemporary dance that puts identity politics on its head.
It is Crystal Stacey (The Peace Maker) though who brings deep emotional depth to the show through an aerial number in honour of victims of domestic violence.
The set design by Tristan Shelly and lighting by Paul Lim creates a statement of focus with a twelve-foot hive dominating the stage. The neon gold and yellow lights create a versatile playing space for the women to appear in epic silhouette or in saturated warmth.
Lisa Fa’alafi’s costume design is a series of revelations that delight on their own while Kim “Busty Beatz” Bowers’ musical direction is sharp and to the point.
Hot Brown Honey is more than a show, it’s a movement. They push beyond the concept of what a show is supposed be to reach into the hearts and minds of the audience to create what a show should be – an integrative experience that raises you up while tearing expectations down.
The future of feminism is Hot Brown Honey and it is delicious.
Hot Brown Honey by Kim Bowers and Lisa Fa’alifi. Directed by Lisa Fa’alifi. A Briefs Factory production, presented by The Cultch. On stage at the York Theatre (639 Commercial Dr, Vancouver) until March 30. Visit thecultch.com for tickets and information.