Hot Brown Honey

Home Theatre, Manchester; Thursday 14th December 2017

Fighting the power never tasted so sweet. The Hot Brown Honeys have opened their hive and they’d like to invite you in – the take-home message of the evening is both memorable and simple: decolonise and moisturise.

Hot Brown Honey is just brilliant. Six feisty, insistent women step forward and land a series of compelling and powerful blows in the name of the sisterhood. No aspect of femininity is beyond bounds here – from literally making a song and dance about their pussies to full-on giant cleavage suffocation for some unlucky (or lucky?) members of the audience.

In charge of proceedings seems to be Busty Beatz (when she says “Busty” we say “Beatz”). From her commanding position at the apex of her magnificent honeycomb throne that dominates the stage, Busty seems to be some kind of god-like presence. Only her face is visible as she ushers in the other performers, as well as occasionally slaying the audience with her profound quotes from leading feminist thinkers. Busty is a character that oozes inspirational charm – nothing puts her girl-power message across better than the moment she releases her HUGE afro – only to then immediately issue a very, very clear instruction to everyone in the room: “don’t touch my hair, whatever you do.”

Hot Brown Honey is a flamboyant evening of cabaret entertainment featuring, amongst other things: top-notch hula-hooping, beat-boxing, gymnastics, dancing, singing – it’s all there, and you have to applaud every act because each one is so good. The entertainment flows at high speed, buzzing around your mind as if an actual bee has entered your sensory cortex.

This show has so much appeal and magnetism, it’s just a complete blast from start to finish. Busty Beatz is effectively a preacher, and a really, really good one – regardless of whether or not you agree or identify with the underlying race and gender politics that fuels this show, it’s all put across so well and in such an entertaining and amusing manner that, by the end of it all, you’re fully signed up to the cause.

All I wanted was an evening of entertainment, after Hot Brown Honey it feels like I’ve undergone some sort of religious conversion, and I don’t really seem to mind. Like finding a new favourite song or enjoying a delicious meal that you’ve never tasted before, it is both comforting and reassuring to know that shows like Hot Brown Honey are out there in the world of theatre, waiting to grab hold of you and show you what you’ve been missing.

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