Theatre review: Hot Brown Honeys make some impressive noise

Hot Brown Honey

To Jan. 27 | York Theatre

Tickets and info: From $22 at

Part hip hop concert, part pep rally, Hot Brown Honey is a loud, proud evening of consciousness raising; a series of lessons on race and gender that says you can have your revolution and dance to it, too.

It’s an immensely clever and entertaining show that blatantly sugar-coats, or rather honey-coats, its serious political message. Fighting the power, the Honeys promise, never tasted so sweet.

The production from the Briefs Factory of Australia features six multi-talented indigenous women from the South Pacific. Their set is a giant hive of dynamic coloured lights, but in place of buzzing bees we get a compulsive hip hop soundtrack cranked to max volume. For the sonically sensitive, ear plugs are distributed along with the program.

Coco Sugar Lips is seen here in the show Hot Brown Honey. The hit show from Australia kicks off Femme January at the Cultch on Jan. 9, 2018. Photo: Dylan Evans [PNG Merlin Archive]

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Coco Sugar Lips in Hot Brown Honey.

Perched high atop the hive is the Queen Bee Kim ‘Busty Beatz’ Bowers — co-writer, composer and musical director — who acts as DJ, cheerleader-in-chief and political commentator. She provides the text for the performances below and continually entreats the audience to “MAKE SOME NOISE!!!”

At first this feels like pop concert compulsion. We’re being ordered to have a great time, compelled to cheer, applaud, stamp our feet. But it gradually becomes clear that in the context of brown women’s lives, making noise can be a powerful political act.

Even those of us in the audience who are neither brown nor women can be moved to change, the show insists. We get caught up in series of call-and-response chants reinforced by repetition and the driving beat: “When I say stand, you say up! When I say rise, you say up! When I say wake, you say up!” And we do.

The show is structured like a revue. Songs, dances and sketches illustrate the message, exposing and exploding stereotypes about women of colour and answering questions like “What is privilege?” and “Where are you really from?” The performers come out dancing in maids’ outfits. “You are not the maid,” Beatz chants, and the women lift their skirts, replacing

Source:: Vancouver Sun – Entertainment

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