The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE -

F US­ING cir­cus and the­atre into one blood­thirsty, side-split­ting pro­duc­tion, Drac­ula’s new show, Trans­fu­sion, in­cludes an ae­ri­al­ist for the first time.

The fam­ily be­hind the renowned Gold Coast cabaret the­atre and restau­rant – John New­man and his three chil­dren, Paul, Marc and Hay­die – have been work­ing hard this week to put the fin­ish­ing touches to their ‘‘best show yet’’.

Hay­die New­man, Trans­fu­sion’s direc­tor, says the new show rep­re­sents Drac­ula’s evo­lu­tion dur­ing the past 32 years.

‘‘We have been go­ing for a long time. With a prod­uct like ours, it’s good to keep slightly tweak­ing it each time,’’ she says.

‘‘This is the first time we have had (an ae­ri­al­ist). We have flown peo­ple through the room on har­nesses, but with our lim­ited knowl­edge of it we have pre­vi­ously kept it small and con­tained. So now we are tilt­ing to­wards Cirque du Soleil hor­ror style – it’s so pretty but you can evil it up so quickly.’’

Hay­die says the ti­tle Trans­fu­sion was de­rived from a few re­vamped ‘‘old gim­micks’’.

‘‘For ex­am­ple, we are do­ing Bat Out of Hell by Meat­loaf, but we are us­ing ev­ery aerial as­pect of the room,’’ she says.

‘‘We have got one of the guys fly­ing up­side down on a har­ness play­ing guitar, we have Charne play­ing pi­ano suspended in midair on a plat­form while Rudi is har­nessed from the roof singing the song and our drum­mer is play­ing from be­hind, up in the air on a har­ness. It’s been so hard to re­hearse.

‘‘It’s been the bane of my life for the last few weeks. But it will be the high­light of the show. Your eyes don’t know where to look.’’

Hay­die says Trans­fu­sion will also in­clude Drac­ula’s trade­mark top­i­cal lo­cal ref­er­ences.

‘‘Richard is low­ered in from a chain on the roof as if he is be­ing flown in by a he­li­copter, and we were say­ing as he gets dropped off, it needs to be by some­one top­i­cal,’’ she says.

‘‘So this morn­ing it was Ju­lia Gil­lard. Ev­ery night he will change that de­pend­ing who is on the front page of the Bul­letin. We al­low a lot of artis­tic li­cence and free­dom as far as top­i­cal com­edy goes.‘‘(Lo­cal girl) Me­gan Barry-Cot­ter, who is ab­so­lutely beau­ti­ful, is our ae­ri­al­ist. She has been fab­u­lous to work with be­cause we are learn­ing so much about the cir­cus side of things,’’ Hay­die says.

‘‘We wel­come back Rudi Testa, who has al­ways been a favourite of ours, and Riely Sav­ille, who is the most amaz­ing dancer I have ever come across. She has most re­cently danced with Kanye West.’’

Hay­die says Drac­ula’s on­go­ing suc­cess is partly due to the fact staff are treated like they are part of the New­man fam­ily.

‘‘Our chef just cel­e­brated 20 years with us. He met his wife here in the box of­fice and they have two lit­tle boys. We have all grown up to­gether I guess,’’ she says.

‘‘We have th­ese amaz­ing staff meet­ings at the start of the night where ev­ery­one sings and gets re­ally pumped be­fore we open the doors. At the mo­ment we’re singing We Run

the Night. This is what we do and it works re­ally well for man­agers, floor staff, kitchen staff – every­body. They are all in the right frame of mind be­fore the doors open – that’s how we keep it mov­ing.

‘‘We are so pas­sion­ate about what we do. We ab­so­lutely love it. It’s our baby. It’s our life.’’

Trans­fu­sion plays Drac­ula’s Tues­days to Satur­days from 6.30pm.

– Pic­ture and cover photo: GLENN HAMP­SON

Trans­fu­sion’s Me­gan Barry-Cot­ter (as Jester), cos­tume de­signer Jayne New­man and Riely Sav­ille (Show­girl).

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