This Christmas, HOME invites explosive feminist cabaret act ‘Hot Brown Honey’ from way down under to the Manchester stage. This all-fabulous female posse exudes a sizzling energy that has its audience literally leaping from their seats. Prepare to laugh, cry, cringe and be down right outraged as Hot Brown Honey takes you on a relentless journey through a series daring performances that offer up a shattering expression of political defiance and social empowerment that really has to be seen to be believed.
On stage is an impressive giant light up honeycomb and on top sits this evening’s master of ceremonies, Busty Beatz, aka Kim Bowers. Around her dance, gyrate and sing the most unashamed, garish, feisty, and fierce women the South Pacific has to offer. Rarely can an audience experience a medley of Lionel Richie, Missy Elliot and Adele in amongst traditional Maori and Aboriginal renditions, or be so convinced of the appropriateness of twerking and stripease in the same breath as feminism and cultural heritage. Hot Brown Honey has no fear of overstepping the mark. Behind all its hilarity and spectacle the entire production is intensely angry to its very core, a reality that colours the entire performance with an overwhelming and unashamed seriousness.
The stand out act comes from circus performer Crystal Stacey who delivers a heart breaking aerial routine about domestic violence. The music is sparse leaving chilling silences in which Crystal’s gasps for air seem deafeningly exposed as she falls perilously close to the stage floor. The juxtaposition of these moments with the evening’s more facetious acts catches an audience completely unawares and gives these direct emotional punches devastating impact.
It is impossible to not take away a glowing admiration for these women. The company exudes a sense of activism and independence, not least from its mantra of “the revolution cannot happen without childcare.” Hot Brown Honey is a show that directly engages with its audience, in a manner that may be a little too interactive for those expecting a more theatrical performance. However one cannot help but find themselves fully on board Hot Brown Honey’s well moisturised revolution train, giddy with excitement, hurtling towards empowerment, decolonisation, vocalisation and independence. Fiercely entertaining and devastatingly poignant, Hot Brown Honey is a fantastic end to HOME’s autumn season.
Photographs taken by Dylan Evans.