The Star Observer caught up with Briefs star (and unofficial leader) Mark Winmill the morning after he and his cast mates had embarked on a ‘team bonding’ session, catching friend Margaret Cho’s stand-up show.
“The Second Coming is a new piece with two of the original cast, myself and Fez [Faanana], who’s the MC of the show. We’ve recruited four new boys, who are all amazing – three stunning aerialist, acrobat, vaudevillian type guys and then the fourth, Dallas Dellaforce. It’s a crazy mix of bodies and styles,” he said.
Australian circus stars Ben Lewis and Tom Flanagan from Tom Tom Crew and Circus Oz fame have joined the fold, alongside fresh-faced circus brat Louis Biggs, who makes his Briefs debut.
While The Second Coming keeps the eclectic variety formula Briefs are known for, this time around there’ll also be music provided by DJ Busty Beatz to stitch the show together. Winmill will showcase one of his newer performance pieces in The Second Coming – a production with something of an avian theme.
“I’ve always been obsessed with birds, so I’ve come up with this act called Showboy Exotica. It’s a massive feathery striptease number where I’m jumping into a birdbath and doing an aerial act above it,” he chuckled.
Winmill premiered the act in Las Vegas last year. It’s a town that’s been good to him – in 2011 he won the coveted King of Burlesque title, and returned last year to hand it over to the next winner.
“One other act in particular I’m excited about is called Beast in Show. It’s a dog show with a difference – we have a dog-off as though they’re all ‘90s supermodels.”
While the Briefs boys mix burlesque, circus, drag and acrobatic skills, there’s one unifying theme throughout the cast: a healthy disregard for traditional gender boundaries.
“Gender is definitely something we always play with. It’s that aesthetic we always bring; butch boys turn into mad bearded trannies and then change back again. We like to play with people’s perceptions.”
Given this gender fluidity, the Briefs boys obviously have a loyal queer following. But Winmill said it never failed to surprise him exactly who turned up to a Briefs show.
“It’s so mixed, and that’s one of my favourite things – there’s everyone from Nan and Pop to young queer kids to straight couples on a night out. We give them some magic, whether we’ve opened their eyes or just made them wet their pants laughing,” he said.
“We performed in Parramatta for the Sydney Festival, and those shows had the most amazing mix of people. We even had a bunch of Arabic men come along who are into manginas.”
INFO: Briefs: The Second Coming, Visy Theatre Brisbane, May 21-26. www.brisbanepowerhouse.org