Cover story: Drac­ula’s spank­tas­tic new show............

Drac­ula’s star aeri­al­ist lands at Broadbeach via shows at the Moulin Rouge, writes Rose Sadleir

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - CONTENTS -

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

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