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

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.

Above pic­ture and cover photo: KIT WISE

The cast of Spi­der­lash com­bine siz­zling bur­lesque and gen­eral mad­ness.

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