HOT BROWN HONEY: Return Melbourne Season

Superbly sassy, socially significant, and simply spectacular

By Jessica Cornish

Hot Brown Honey is vivacious, provocative and highly entertaining. The all-female powerhouse cast has created an engaging and daring 75-minute package that  encourages the members of its audience to reflect on their social roles in challenging gender and race stereotypes. The production successfully managed to strike a perfect balance of playfulness and fun whilst addressing serious and troubling aspects of our society.

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This raw production directed by Lisa Fa’alafi has immense potential to be an incredible piece of art, with only some further refinement needed to add complexity and sophistication to already good circus items, such as hoola hoop routines and an emotive aerial cloth number. The women cleverly weaved important quotes and messages about colonization, cultural appropriation, domestic violence and liberation throughout the performances enveloped by hilarious skits highlighting the all-too-familiar bogan-like behaviour often witnessed overseas in our neighboring city, Bali.

The music was well-chosen and arranged under the direction of the enigmatic Kim ‘Busty Beatz’ Bowers, although I sometimes felt the MC was a little out of breath. Overall the music was upbeat, bottom-heavy and just playful. I loved it all – plus the evening featured some impressive female beat-boxing.

The set was a dynamic beehive that was well-utilized with back light and a platform for the MC and others. Unfortunately, the lighting design seemed a bit under-developed and needs to be reviewed. There were often unused spotlights, performers were left dancing in the dark at times and weird beams of light fell across artists’ faces because of the follow-spot poorly blending with the stage lighting.

Overall, this show was completely fascinating, empowering and voiced an important message for each Australian to consider. The performance forces you to reflect on the role you play within broader society, our positions of vulnerability or privilege, and how we are perpetuating or fighting everyday stereotypes.

Hats off to the wonderful and talented women of Hot Brown Honey: Kim ‘Busty Beatz’ Bowers, Lisa Fa’alafi, Materharere Hope ‘Hope One’ Haami, Alexis West, Ofa Fotu and Crystal Stacey. Their voices deserve to be – and should be – heard.

6 – 11 December, 2016
Thursday 8 December, 7.30pm
Friday 9 December, 7.30pm
Saturday 10 December, 7.30pm
Saturday 10 December, 10.30pm
Sunday 11 December, 7.30pm


Melbourne Arts Centre