Dallas Dellaforce is busier than ever.
The cabaret, drag and stage show performer otherwise known as Daniel Squires Cater is in charge of costuming for Briefs: The Second Coming, an upcoming production that aims to combine the rich history of musical theatre with some deliciously risqué and renegade flair. As you’d imagine, being in charge of all that fabric is proving to be a daunting task. “I’m just running around the place,” Cater says. “I’m getting things done – there’s a lot of sequins involved, as well as a lot of tits and arse.
“There have been a few new acts added [since rehearsals] that have required new costumes. The show’s been going for the last four years I think, and so constant updates and upgrades of costumes always need to happen, becaause they get worn out. So I’m redoing a whole set of costumes for this next upcoming season, making them bright, fresh and delicious, hopefully.”
Cater’s relationship with Briefs goes back several years, although he first came to the show as a fan rather than as a creative cog in the machine. “I saw Briefs for the first time at the Sydney Opera House, as part of Sydney Festival as well actually, though that was the original Briefs show, which was actually developed in the back room of a bookstore in Brisbane,” he explains.
“That was the first time it was ever put on, in that back room. It was just a bunch of friends who thought, ‘Let’s put a show on! Let’s do something crazy.’ They did it and it built momentum and then after a couple of years it became so popular that they put together a solid, structured show. So they did that, and kind of wowed everyone.”
The night Cater first saw Briefs wasn’t just notable for being the young performer’s first time interacting with those he would later work alongside – it also coincided with a larger, significantly more tragic event. “I came to see [Briefs] actually … on the night Brisbane went under in the floods,” Cater says. “So everyone was affected by it. Some people had houses that went under, and they still went on and did the most incredible show I’ve ever seen and I’ve loved them ever since. I’ve [long] had a mutual admiration with the Briefs boys.”
‘Mutual admiration’ might even be an understatement, and Cater talks of his now friends and colleagues with all the giddiness of a devoted, obsessive fan. “Before I started they’d come to Sydney and pop into where I was working and say hi, and I’d always be like, ‘Oh my God, why do they want to come in and see me?’” He laughs. “I was a little bit starstruck. And eventually they asked me to be a part of the brand new show and I couldn’t believe it. It was the highest honour. And that’s how we got to here.”
And isn’t ‘here’ grand? Cater has been humbled by the reception The Second Coming has so far received, and he reckons the production is one of the best the troupe has yet mounted. That’s high praise coming from Cater especially, given he is the world’s biggest Briefs fan. “With this show we got a little bit of funding from the government, which is unusual to say the least,” he explains. “We put the show together in Brisbane over the course of a month. And we thought, ‘Oh you know, we’ll do Edinburgh Festival, maybe, or tour around Australia.’ But everyone just ate it up, and it just snowballed into this giant, giant thing. So it’s been so well received everywhere.”
As far as Cater is concerned, there are lots of factors that have so far contributed to the production’s rapturous reception, but more than anything, he thinks it’s the deep universality at the heart of Briefs that draws in audiences like moths to a flame.
“I think there really is something in it for everybody. I’ve read reviews in the past where they’ve said, ‘It’s definitely not one to bring your mum to.’ But everybody loves it. I’ve had relatives who are complete bogans come and surprise me. All of a sudden they’re just like, ‘This is the best thing I’ve ever seen.’
“I think the most exciting thing about this is that it walks the line between what people want to see and what we want to show them. So it kind of sucks you in. There’s a lot of eye candy, there’s lots of colour and movement, but there’s also a much more serious political side to it. But that’s almost more of a subtext in a way. So people get the message, but it’s through lots of fun as well.”
Ultimately, though Cater admits that rehearsals have been a tad draining, and performance anxiety has dogged the cast throughout the process, at the end of the day, they are a group of artists who deeply love each other. The critical reception to the show is one thing, but all that pales in comparison to the deep bond the Second Coming boys have.
“It’s been a very intense experience but wonderful and really exciting,” says Cater. “And the thing that I think is most exciting about Briefs, and the thing that you get when you see us in action, is that we get along so well. There’s a real family dynamic.”
Briefs: The Second Comingis playing at the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent as part of Sydney Festival fromFriday January 6 – Sunday January 22.