Cover story: Dracula’s spanktastic new show............
Dracula’s star aerialist lands at Broadbeach via shows at the Moulin Rouge, writes Rose Sadleir
MEGAN Barry-Cotter has danced her way around the world. She’s flown through the air as Ariel of The Little Mermaid in a Tokyo Disney production; stolen the show in a Spiegeltent, Germany, starred as a can-can dancer in the Moulin Rouge, Paris and added sparkle to several cruise ships as a contracted performer.
Trained in jazz, ballet, hip-hop, contemporary and tap as well as singing and acting, Barry-Cotter started dancing when she was four years old.
But when the star felt her first thrill as an aerialist, her passion for performance turned in a new direction.
‘‘I was on a cruise ship as a dancer and we all had to learn at bit of aerial ring and I fell in love with it,’’ she says.
‘‘As soon as I realised there was another world out there, I was like: ‘Oh, I need to do that’. When I started I thought I would be good at it, but it was the hardest thing I have ever done. Physically, it’s very difficult. It was inspiring, though, because it was artistic and beautiful but it was also very physically demanding.’’
While Barry-Cotter didn’t learn aerial with the intention of working with it (‘‘It was my hobby and a challenge for fun and fitness’’) her coach eventually persuaded her to audition for aerialist roles.
When Dracula’s Cabaret Restaurant in Broadbeach decided to add its first aerialist to the cast a year ago, Barry-Cotter believed her chances of landing the gig were slim.
‘‘The audition call was incredible – they wanted an aerialist who could dance, sing, act, do comedy and be beautiful on stage – I was like: ‘Oh, right, that’s not asking for much is it?’,’’ she laughs. ‘‘It was very special for me to get the job. It’s a huge privilege to be Dracula’s first aerialist.’’
While she is hanging upside down performing graceful contortions in the air, Barry-Cotter watches jaws drop in the audience.
‘‘I see people gasp, I see their faces and I’m like: ‘What? I’m upside down doing the splits. It’s not that hard’,’’ she laughs. ‘‘If I am having an inspired day, I point my feet as hard as I can and arch my back a little bit more to look relaxed but sexy. But on other days, I think about what to have for dinner when I get home.
‘‘It’s like any career . . . you have your days when you are totally focused but once it becomes second nature you don’t need to think about it.’’
Barry-Cotter says that performing at the Moulin Rouge and Dracula’s are ‘‘worlds apart’’.
‘‘Moulin Rouge is a full-scale production; it’s in a huge theatre and you feel so distanced from the audience,’’ she says.
‘‘Here, it’s interactive and the boys will talk to the audience, find out why they’re here, what they’re celebrating and what their names are. It’s different every single night. I still found the last show funny right up until the end.’’
Barry-Cotter says that she is in her element at Dracula’s.
‘‘I love it because I do my aerial acts but I also get to dance; I will always be a dancer at heart. I am also challenged as I sing and act and do comedy.
‘‘Everyone in the cast is an all-rounder. You have respect for each cast member because you can’t do what they do.’’
Dracula’s is owned and run by the Newman family; three generations help write, produce and direct the shows. BarryCotter says the family presence is what makes the business so special.
‘‘As soon as I walked in the building I felt like I had a place here and that I was wanted, needed and respected,’’ she says.
‘‘It’s nice to work for a family who make you feel like you are part of their family.’’
Barry-Cotter has been looking forward to sinking her teeth into Dracula’s new show, Sin & Tonic, which opened Tuesday night.
‘‘The new show is a little bit raunchier than the last one,’’ she says.
‘‘It’s very well done, beautiful . . . a wonderful show.’’
Sin & Tonic plays Dracula’s Cabaret Restaurant, at Broadbeach, Tuesdays to Saturdays. Visit draculas.com.au for details.
Aerialist Megan Barry-Cotter