MEET THE UNLIKELY NEW STAR AT DRACULA'S
The first time Nicole James entered the weird and wonderful world that is Dracula’s, she was a starry-eyed 16-year-old ballet dancer who was blown away by the quirkiness of the show.
A decade later and it’s a fond memory for the talented Gold Coaster, who recalls her first impression of the Dracula’s show clearly.
“I remember thinking at that particular time: ‘Gosh, I will never be able to do anything like that’,” says Nicole.
This week Nicole returns to Draculas ... but this time on stage as the variety cabaret’s newest star for their latest production Spiderlash.
Joining cabaret all-rounders Richard Macionis, Rudi Testa, David Kume, Christine Ibrahim and Danielle Casson, Nicole has temporarily hung up her ballet shoes for a more raunchy role.
“My 16-year-old self would be amazed at what I am doing, I am very proud,” she says.
“It’s very exciting to be part of this company. I am really impressed with the family oriented environment. I feel very welcomed.”
Combining intense aerial work with acting, dancing and singing — “it’s my first time singing into a microphone” — Nicole says being the latest member of the vampire family is all-encompassing.
“It’s no longer about being a triple threat performer — you have to be a four-times threat, a quadruple threat,” she says.
Raised on the Coast, Nicole studied ballet at QUT before moving to Sydney to attend Brent Street Studios and study performing arts.
After scoring a job at sea with Royal Caribbean International, Nicole got her first taste of aerial while performing on the cruise ship.
“I was training with a guy who used to work with Cirque du Soleil and he was like: ‘I think you would be good at this, let’s give it a try,” she says.
“I think everyone tries to reach new heights in their career ... literally. Aerial is hard but the challenge is to make it look easy. As with any form of entertainment, practise makes perfect.”
In Spiderlash, Nicole works five different aerial apparatuses with ease.
“I am really enjoying the challenges to do with aerial work in this show,” she says.
“Aside from that, I really enjoy the INXS section and the comedy between Rudi and Rich is outstanding.
“Their timing and comfort level with each other is so great.
“This show is a fantastic experience.”
Dracula’s director Marc Newman says, while there's a little more aerial circus in the show, Spiderlash still offers the usual tummy-clutching comedy, sizzling burlesque and general madness.
“Our new production takes the audience on a thrilling journey that combines side-alley circus, novelty comedy acts and graveyard psychobilly rock,” says Marc.
Set to a rock soundtrack delivered by a live band, Marc says Spiderlash finishes on a high with a “spectacular aerial DJ set”.
“It’s sexy new Vampire Vaudeville,” he says.
“It’s comparable to (the entertainment at) the famous Spigeltent travelling pavilion.”
Spiderlash, Dracula’s Cabaret Restaurant. Broadbeach, Tuesdays to Saturdays.
The cast of Spiderlash combine sizzling burlesque and general madness.